This is the kind of stuff you hold your breath and hope you don't hear about your team when it takes the field for offseason practices: New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot Thursday morning while running a route during OTA practices, the team announced. Nicks is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to have a screw inserted into his foot, and the Giants estimate that he'll need about 12 weeks to recover. Assuming no setbacks, that puts his return around the middle of August. But because you can't assume there won't be setbacks, Nicks' availability for the start of the regular season is at least in question.
Real rough break for the Giants, who lost No. 3 wide receiver Mario Manningham in free agency and likely can't afford to have their No. 1 wideout miss significant time. The good news, if there is any, is that it happened now as opposed to a month or two from now, and Nicks will have time to recover. Once he does return, there could be questions about how much he can handle and how soon without re-aggravating the injury, and it's possible he won't be his usual dazzling self right away. Nicks is one of the best wide receivers in the entire league, and he and Victor Cruz form the strength of the Giants' Eli Manning-led passing attack.
This will open up reps in the preseason for receivers such as Ramses Barden, Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and rookie Rueben Randle, which could help the Giants better figure out which of those guys is the best bet to replace Manningham at that No. 3 receiver spot. That may be a side benefit of the unfortunate news, and last year's Giants obviously were able to succeed in spite of a rash of significant preseason injuries, so they surely believe they have coverage. But there's no one on the roster who brings everything Nicks brings to his position, and they'll surely hope his recovery will be on the short side and they'll have him on the field in plenty of time for their Sept. 5 regular-season opener.