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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Updated: September 15, 1:02 PM ET
Hakeem Nicks doesn't practice

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Hakeem Nicks said he does not expect to miss Monday night's game against the Rams after suffering a bone bruise and hyperextending his knee in the season opener.

Nicks did not practice on Wednesday but the Giants' star receiver said the swelling in his knee is subsiding.

"I feel way better than I did yesterday," said Nicks, who underwent an MRI on Monday. "I don't see myself missing no time. [It's a] day-by-day thing. Every day has been way better. Swelling has gone down every day. No pain, just a matter of the fluid and swelling."

"I think I'll play," Nicks added.

Nicks did not practice Wednesday but did do some light jogging. He said if the injury keeps improving the way it has, he hopes to practice by the end of the week. The Giants have an extra day of practice since their home opener against the Rams is on Monday night.

The Giants signed veteran wideout Brandon Stokley on Thursday. The 6-foot Stokley had 31 catches for 354 yards for Seattle last year. Stokley, 35, came to terms with the Redskins earlier this summer only to back out of the deal after Washington added several receivers. Stokley's best season came with Peyton Manning in 2004 when he had 68 receptions for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Stokley's addition likely has more to do with finding a receiver to help in the slot.

But if Nicks can't go against the Rams, the Giants would likely elevate Domenik Hixon to start opposite Mario Manningham. Victor Cruz would also see more snaps as well.

"It's not gonna affect me," quarterback Eli Manning said if Nicks is unable to play. "We've got guys that can step up and play and figure out what's gonna happen. That's the good thing about having some veteran guys in Manningham and Hixon. They've each played the X position, they've each played the Z position. So, whoever is there, they both know what's going on, and if Hakeem hopefully comes back, then we can get back to our original formations and alignments and it shouldn't be a problem."

Both Hixon and Cruz have been learning how to play the slot as the Giants look for a replacement for the departed Steve Smith.

"I like it," Hixon said. "Working inside, watching Steve do it for a long time and do it well. I'm waiting for my opportunity."

"Just kind of navigate through some of the junk [on the field]," Hixon added of what playing in the slot requires. "You got a lot more junk in [there]. Linebackers trying to put their hands on you, DBs, little things like that. Just traffic."

The Giants hope to have their best wide receiver navigating through the traffic on Monday night.

"Now is not the time to be going down right now," Nicks said of the Giants' injuries. "We'll see how it goes but the extra day does help."

The wide receiver said he hurt his knee when he made a 68-yard reception in the first quarter. Since Nicks finished the game with seven catches for 122 yards, he knew the injury wasn't something major.

"I kind of just shook it off," Nicks said. "I felt like I did something but I knew it wasn't that serious ... because I knew if it was something that serious I wouldn't be able to still be as elusive as I was on it or make sudden moves."

Nicks did undergo X-rays on his leg and his wrist following the Giants' 28-14 loss to the Redskins on Sunday and results were negative. Nicks said his wrist feels "good."

The Giants cannot afford to lose their most explosive offensive player. They are already banged up on the defensive side. Defensive end Justin Tuck went through a limited practice after sitting out the season opener with pain in his neck. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora remains sidelined from knee surgery.

Tight end Travis Beckum also did not practice due to soreness in his hamstrings.

To make room on the roster for Stokley, the Giants waived defensive end Justin Trattou, who was signed off the practice squad Saturday and played Sunday.

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.