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Thursday, November 21, 2013
Hakeem Nicks' situation gets murkier

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was back at practice Thursday, though he was listed as a limited participant. Oh, and his injury changed. The Giants called it a groin injury Wednesday, then Thursday coach Tom Coughlin said, "They say it's better to explain it as an abdominal, whatever that means."

Fortunately, Nicks spoke about his situation Thursday. Unfortunately, he didn't offer much more in the way of clarity. He said he definitely plans to play Sunday against the Cowboys, but there is obviously some sort of physical issue that's giving him trouble.

Hakeem Nicks
Receiver Hakeem Nicks is in the middle of a frustrating season, with a new contract looming.
"It's just been something all year, really, on and off," Nicks said. "I was advised by my agent to get it checked, and so that's what I did. I got good feedback, and everything is fine."

Pressed on what, exactly, the specific injury was, Nicks said, "It's not an injury," but wouldn't say what it was instead.

"I'm not going to go into detail on it," he said. "It's just a little strain."

Nicks' season has been a weird one since the spring, when he uncharacteristically sat out the optional portion of the offseason program. He is in the final year of his contract, but he and the team mutually agreed to postpone negotiations on a new one until after this season. The Giants were signing Victor Cruz, and Nicks didn't want to negotiate off a down 2012 season, so they decided it was best to wait.

But after a promising five-catch, 114-yard performance in the season opener in Dallas, Nicks' year has gone poorly. He's had just one other 100-yard game, and has not caught a touchdown pass all season. He came out of Sunday's game briefly after appearing to injure himself, and did some sitting by himself on the sideline to the point where teammates Brandon Jacobs and Andre Brown felt the need to go over and cheer him up.

"I'm not frustrated," Nicks said. "So all that stuff they're saying about me being frustrated, that's not my character. That's not me. I'm a team player. I know my role, I play it well, and that's that. Frustrated ain't the case at all. I'm competitive. And competitive is completely separate from being frustrated."

What's odd about the whole situation is its proximity to Nicks' impending free agency. While he'd loved to have had a great season and cash in with a huge free-agent contract from the Giants or someone else, that hasn't happened. But even if his numbers are down, as long as he gets through the season healthy, his track record and talent likely will be enough to convince someone to sign him to a nice deal. That's something about which he has claimed he's not thinking, but he's made several comments this season that contradict his assertions, including this one Thursday:

"It's just, because of the situation I'm in, I had to make sure I'm all good. I was advised by my agent, and that's something we wanted to get done."

So that happened Wednesday, and he was back out there Thursday. And whether it's a groin or an abdominal or a strain or an injury or whatever it is, the one thing Nicks wanted to make clear was that there was no chance he'd miss this upcoming game.

"No way," he said. "It's Dallas, man."

Well, at least we're all clear on that.