- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hakeem Nicks is still dealing with some soreness in his right foot, but, if it's up to him, the nagging injury won't keep him from the field Thursday.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Nicks said. "I just have to keep taking it day by day and (Wednesday) should feel a little bit better and then Thursday will be game time."
Thursday will also be a homecoming of sorts for Nicks, who grew up in Charlotte and played college football at North Carolina.
He'll play his first career regular season game in Carolina, and expects to have several family members at the game. He says he grew up a Panthers fan, looking up to diminutive wideout Steve Smith for the heart Smith showed on the field.
Nicks is eager to play against his childhood idol and in front of friends and family on Thursday night.
"I've been looking forward to it," the fourth-year wideout said.
Nicks has been playing hobbled, dealing with soreness in his surgically-repaired right foot.
Last Sunday against Tampa though, the injury didn't seem to slow him. Nicks finished with 10 catches and 199 yards and a touchdown in the Giants' come-from-behind win over Tampa.
Nicks and Victor Cruz's big days (Cruz had 11 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown) gave the Giants the first duo of receivers with at least 10 catches on 175 yards in the same game in NFL history.
Nicks wants to keep the party going on Thursday.
"Definitely, I believe it can happen again," Nicks said Tuesday. "We just have to play within our offense, play within our schemes and just make big plays. We ran the ball well, we threw the ball well. We do that and the sky is the limit."
Nicks sat out of practice on Monday and Tuesday to rest his foot. He said there's still discomfort in his foot but it's lessening as the week goes by.
"As of right now, everything's looking good and I'm looking forward to playing," Nicks said.
Twice on Sunday, Tampa defenders seemed to target Nicks' injury. He went down hard on an incomplete deep pass and came up limping after his right ankle appeared to be stepped on by a Buccaneer.
Nicks said he felt a pain shoot in his foot initially, calling it a "shock." But shortly thereafter, he returned to the field to haul in a 20-yard catch that set up a Giants touchdown.
"There was a little pain, but I was fine," he said.
2dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan