Hakeem Nicks expects to return against Eagles

Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants celebrates

Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants celebrates after making a 37-yard touchdown catch with time running out in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers. (Jan. 15, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Hakeem Nicks had to watch the Giants' 36-7 win over the Panthers from his couch. That was a disappointment for the wide receiver, who was looking forward to a return to Charlotte, N.C., where he was raised, but did not even make the trip with the team.

He went from cherishing a homecoming to sitting at home, bumming.

But the rest afforded him a chance to partake in two things that he rarely has an opportunity to do. The first was to rest his injured foot, which he believes will help keep him on the field more often as the rest of the season unfolds. The second was a chance to watch Eli Manning and the Giants' offense operate from the perspective of a fan.

Nicks said he turned a critical eye on his own team and, in particular, his own quarterback. What he saw may help overcome some of the lapses the Manning-to-Nicks connection could suffer from while Nicks is limited in practices for the foreseeable future.

"I watched how he went through his reads and his progressions," Nicks said. "It kind of gave me a sense to sit back and learn him a little bit more. I definitely did watch him and critique his play a lot. I talked to him today , , . seeing what he's expecting on certain coverages and certain downs, and just making sure we're on the same page."

Nicks doesn't just want to be on the same page as Manning, he wants to be on the same field. That likely will happen Sunday against the Eagles. Nicks expressed little concern that he would miss a second straight game. "I definitely anticipate playing," he said.

He also said that if the Week 3 game had been on a Sunday and not a Thursday, he likely would have been able to play.

"I don't think it was a setback," Nicks said. "I think it was more of a cautious situation where it was just too quick of a turnaround on the foot, all that pounding on the foot that I did that last game. I think if it was a regular Sunday and it was a normal week, I would've been able to go out there and compete."

Tom Coughlin said he expects Nicks will practice once this week. That likely will happen Thursday. He'll rest Wednesday and Friday. That gives him very limited time on the field to work on chemistry with Manning. They have connected on 14 passes for 237 yards this season, including 10 for 199 in Week 2, when Nicks was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Now that Nicks has the benefit of rest -- and of watching Manning and the Eagles' defense on television -- those numbers should continue to expand.

"We were just talking about certain things, the way Philly plays and making sure we're on the same page with certain routes vs. certain coverages," Nicks said of his talk with Manning Monday.

Nicks called it "learning him" and said it was a way to "help myself get better."

Still, he would have rather been on the field last week than watching from home.

"I had to look at the situation and I knew we had another big game coming up with Philly, so when they told me, I just took it in stride," Nicks said. "Pull up the positive aspect about it. I'll be ready to go for Philly."

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