The Giants are no stranger to preseason injuries.
Less than one year ago, Big Blue witnessed a host of key players go down with various ailments. These weren’t minor injuries, either. Cornerbacks Terrell Thomas, Brian Witherspoon and Prince Amukamara, middle linebacker Jonathan Goff and rookie defensive tackle Marvin Austin were all part of the carnage, the litany of injuries that appeared to doom the Giants before they played their first regular season game.
Lo and behold, Tom Coughlin’s resilient, injury-riddled bunch persevered through their preseason struggles and emerged--battered defense and all--with the grandest honor that the NFL can offer: the Lombardi Trophy. Of course, to say that Big Blue would have fallen short of that goal with an injury-free roster is foolish. With Thomas, Goff and the rest of the wounded bunch on board, there’s no telling whether or not they would have made it Indianapolis.
Point is, there’s precedent here. So before Hakeem Nicks’ broken foot turns into a bigger story than it needs to be, Giants’ fans would do well to remember what happened at last year’s preseason workouts and how that season ended.
From the team’s official release yesterday:
Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot this morning during the team’s second OTA (organized team activity) workout. Nicks suffered the injury early in practice as he was running a route during individual drills in the Timex Performance Center field house.If his rehab goes as planned, Nicks could be ready for the Wednesday night (Sept. 5) season-opener against Dallas. Tom Coughlin weighed in on Nicks’ prognosis yesterday on the NFL Network.
Nicks will undergo surgery tomorrow to have a screw inserted into the broken bone. The procedure will be performed by noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. The expected recovery time for Nicks is approximately 12 weeks. The Giants report to training camp at the University at Albany on July 26.
Injuries are almost never a good thing. For the Giants, losing arguably their best receiver for every organized team workout and training camp rep will hurt. Remember, this is an offense that lives and dies by the pass, a scheme predicated upon QB-receiver familiarity and pristine route running. By now, Eli and Nicks would have no problem completing passes blindfolded. But there were times last year when these two were hardly on the same page, when Nicks and Manning had two completely different plays in mind. Having Nicks in camp, working out the kinks with Manning, would go a long way towards avoiding those mishaps.
In any case, the next three months will be difficult and altogether frustrating for Nicks. Being the fiery, hyper-competitive player that he is, Nicks will find it hard not to help his team take on a division rival, in prime time, in front of practically every NFL fan with a functional television set. In other words, expect him to be ready for week 1.
There is a positive side to today’s overwhelmingly saddening news. Nicks’ missed reps now become valuable opportunities for other wideouts to prove themselves capable of handling real reps in real games.
Big Blue’s wide receiver depth chart is far from finalized, meaning that training camp will play host to the type of competitive, high-spirited position battles that Coughlin relishes and encourages.
With Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden all vying for playing time this season, someone will need to make an impression over the next three months. Nicks’ absence gives each player even more opportunity to prove his worth.
For my money, this is where Randle separates himself from the pack, proves that his second round selection was much too late and wins himself a spot in the starting lineup.
Get better soon, 88.