Coach talks Hakeem Nicks' absence

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lack of sufficient practice time last week was the reason wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was inactive for the New York Giants' game against the Dallas Cowboys, according to coach Tom Coughlin, who seemed annoyed by the circumstances surrounding Nicks' situation.

"On Wednesday, as you have tracked it, he had an issue with the abdominal area, thought it might be a hernia, so he went through all the tests, etc., and did not practice. Was not able to practice," Coughlin said. "You asked me the question late in the week, and I answered: 'What would be the issue? Speed. He probably can't be full speed.'"

It's unclear whether Nicks will be ready to practice this week or play Sunday night against the Washington Redskins. He has five games left before he's eligible for unrestricted free agency, and the clumsy way his season continues to unfold is cause to wonder about his future with the team.

His production has been disappointing as the passing game has remained stalled all season. He does not have a touchdown catch. And now, there's apparently at least some sort of injury issue on which he and the team aren't seeing eye to eye.

Thursday was the first time Nicks mentioned the abdominal injury publicly, though he said it had been bothering him all season and his agent had recommended that he get it checked out. It's unclear whether Wednesday was the first time he'd mentioned the issue to the team, though if it was, that could be at least part of the cause of frustration on Coughlin's part.

Nicks said Thursday and Friday that the injury wouldn't keep him from playing, but in the end he doesn't get to decide whether he plays -- Coughlin does -- and when Nicks arrived at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, there was no uniform in his locker.

When Nicks said his agent recommended he get checked out, he referenced "the situation that I'm in," which was taken to mean his contract situation and his impending free agency. Obviously, playing with a hernia and risking more serious injury would damage his standing on the free-agent market, and he and his agent have a vested interest in making sure Nicks hits the market as healthy as possible.

The issue is the extent to which that concern, whether consciously or not, is at odds with Nicks' ability to help the Giants win now.

Nicks was not available to speak to the media Monday, and Coughlin had little to offer in terms of prognosis.

"I really don't have any other information to give you," Coughlin said. "He's being treated, and hopefully we'll be able to see where he's at come Wednesday."