Thursday, September 29, 2011
Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck ailing
By Ohm Youngmisuk
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and defensive end Justin Tuck did not practice on Thursday due to injuries.
Nicks has some swelling related to a bone bruise and hyperextended knee injury he had two weeks ago but said he will play when the New York Giants face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
"Let the swelling go down a little bit. ... [It's] a little bit, not bad, but there's something there," Nicks said. "Just precautionary, it is nothing serious. I will still be playing Sunday. We'll see how it feels when we come in the morning. It will be a day-to-day decision but nothing that will hold me out [Sunday]."
Tuck, however, didn't go as far as to guarantee he will play against the Cardinals. The team's defensive captain is currently nursing a strained groin and pain in his neck which continues to linger from an injury he suffered in the preseason.
"Well if I get on that plane going to Arizona, I am playing," Tuck said. "Honestly, they are trying to buy some time here. The less I can do, the less it will be aggravated. We are just buying time."
Tuck says his groin and neck are both a little bit of an issue right now. Tuck said he is not at the point where he has to see a specialist but the defensive end expressed concern again about his neck.
Tuck reiterated that there is nothing structurally wrong with his neck and that it is not as serious as the neck injury that teammate Mathias Kiwanuka had last year when he missed all but three games with a herniated cervical disk in his neck.
"Even though it is not nowhere near to that point, it is just scary hearing that," Tuck said. "It is your neck. It is a physical sport that your neck is involved in."
The pain in Tuck's neck comes and goes and he said it is limiting him from using all of his moves.
"Justin was playing such good football for us during camp and preseason games that he was really playing at a high, high level," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "He is not playing at that level for us right now so we do see that. I know it has to be frustrating for him because it is frustrating for us because we know what Justin can do."
While Tuck is nursing his injuries, defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) and wide receiver Mario Manningham (concussion) practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day.
Coach Tom Coughlin said Umenyiora did not experience any setbacks following his first practice on Wednesday since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery back on Aug. 19. But Umenyiora's status for Sunday's game will likely be determined by how his knee responds each day after practice.
"He's fine," Tuck said. "He is one of those rare guys that can get to 100 percent with a lot of quickness. He had a great practice today. You couldn't tell that he had anything done with his knee. He was flying around and making all the moves we are accustomed to him making."
Long snapper Zak DeOssie did not practice due to a back issue and rookie linebacker Mark Herzlich and tight end Travis Beckum alternated snapping on special teams. Coughlin expects DeOssie to play against the Cardinals.
The coach did not sound as optimistic about wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who injured his quad running a route in practice on Wednesday and could be out Sunday and longer.
Cornerback back Prince Amukamara also did not practice as he continues to make his way back from a broken foot.
With all the injuries the Giants have suffered since the preseason, Tuck has felt the need to not only play but do more to compensate for season-ending injuries to cornerback Terrell Thomas and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff among others.
"I would love to put a lot more burden on myself to help this football team," Tuck said. "The longer [the pain] stays, the more accustomed you get to it which can be dangerous. I realize some things that I can and can't do on the football field right now. Obviously that helps me psychologically but physically it takes away from some of the God-given talents that I have to be a good defensive end."
Tuck isn't sure if he will be able to practice on Friday as the medical staff continues to try to get his neck and groin ready for Sunday.
Unfortunately for Tuck, the fear is the neck pain could linger throughout the season.
"It has a mind of its own," Tuck said. "I wake up some days and don't feel it at all. And I wake up the other days and it rears its ugly head. Hopefully we get to the bye week [three weeks from now] and you don't have any recurrence and then you get that extra week to let it cool down, hopefully permanently."
"It is not serious enough right now that I am saying, 'Coach, you might have to shut me down for three weeks,'" Tuck continued. "It is kind of like, going through these practices, get in and watch film and we'll try to slide by with you missing a few practices here and there early on in the season to give you an opportunity for it to quiet down."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.