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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Updated: May 23, 11:18 AM ET
Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks absent

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants went through their first OTA session without their top two wide receivers.

Victor Cruz did not participate in the voluntary practice as he continues to try to work out a long-term extension with the team. But coach Tom Coughlin wasn't thrilled to see his other star receiver, Hakeem Nicks, also absent.

"I don't know," Coughlin said when asked what Nicks' status is. "He should be here."

Cruz has been absent from the voluntary offseason activities thus far as his agent, Tom Condon, and the Giants try to hammer out an extension. The team's co-owners, John Mara and Steve Tisch, have repeatedly expressed optimism that a deal will get done eventually.

The Giants will also have to deal with Nicks' contract. Nicks is entering the final season of his contract, and the Giants want to lock down their No. 1 receiver to a long-term extension.

Nicks had a minor scope of his knee in the offseason and has repeatedly said that he feels good. Coughlin said Nicks' health was not the reason the receiver wasn't there on Wednesday.

"Yeah, sure I did," Coughlin said of whether he expected Nicks to attend. "I expect everybody here. Trying to get our team better here."

"He would have some kind of [physical] limitations I am sure right away," Coughlin added. "But that is not the reason [for his absence]."

Eli Manning sounded surprised by Nicks' absence as well.

"I had no reason to think he wasn't going to be here," Manning said.

Manning has repeatedly said this offseason that he wants Nicks to be fully healthy for the season. The Giants' offense sputtered with Nicks trying to play through knee and foot injuries last season.

But Manning emphasized the importance of being able to work with his receivers during sessions like Wednesday's practice when the offense went against the defense for the first time this spring.

"You want to make sure your guys are healthy at the start of the year, and that's always the No. 1 thing," Manning said. "But you've got to get some work also. We need to improve. We've gotta rep things. We've got to make sure we're doing everything we can to make sure we're playing at our best. That involves being healthy and also involves practice and getting reps."

"You've still gotta work on your timing," he later added. "You've still gotta work on the basics. Everybody needs it. I need the basics. I mean, how many times have I thrown a hitch in my life or a curl route? I've still gotta do it. But it is good to have other guys in there running routes and getting your timing down with other guys. That's how you look at it, but you'd still like to have all your guys out there. We all need to work."

With Cruz and Nicks absent, Louis Murphy and Jerrel Jernigan got bigger workloads. Murphy, who is behind Rueben Randle on the depth chart, looked impressive in practice.

Justin Tuck said that as long as Cruz and Nicks perform like they have on the field on Sundays, the Giants should be fine.

"I realize this, no matter how much time they miss, if they come out on Sunday and ball, this will be forgotten anyway," Tuck said. "So that's all I ask for them. Make sure they're ready to play when that time comes."

"I have no doubt [Cruz will] be here when he needs to be here and when everything settles," Tuck added when asked about Cruz. "I don't think he's going anywhere. The ideal thing is to have him here sooner than later. I'm not worried about him. I'm not. We've got a lot of things to worry about, but I don't think Victor Cruz is one of them."