For those stimulated by the drama of anticipation, Giants practice was the right place to be Friday.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who has missed the last three games with foot and knee problems, might return against the 49ers Sunday.
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Coughlin's usual Friday afternoon "we'll see" brake on all expectations was being fully applied.
Nicks practiced and, unavailable to reporters, later issued a statement. "I did the majority of practice, about four or five reps a period," he said. "About what I normally do."
Nothing definitive about Sunday, though. "I would like to see what the coaches are going to say," Nicks said, "what they're going to say about it in the morning and what the trainers are going to say, but I think I've got a pretty good shot."
Nicks is listed as "questionable" along with tackle David Diehl (knee) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring). Webster did not practice, but Coughlin said that was "precautionary." Wide receiver Ramses Barden (concussion), tight end Martellus Bennett (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring), safety Antrel Rolle (knee) and linebackers Chase Blackburn (hip), Michael Boley (hip) and Keith Rivers (hamstring) are probable.
Fellow wide receivers Domenik Hixon and Victor Cruz said they would welcome Nicks' return but are cautious about guaranteeing it.
"He looked good, caught a few balls," Cruz said. "We haven't had him on our sideline in a little while, in our general area, when we're waiting to go in and out for plays, so we were killing him a little bit, stuff like that.
"He was smiling. Anything to keep him feeling like he's still a part of us. When you've got another weapon like Hakeem there, he has to be accounted for, so it's always positive for our offense. [But] only he knows how he feels, and the training staff, and the communication he has with them. Hopefully we'll have him full speed."
Hixon said he expects Nicks to "battle through it. He's nicked up a little, but he's a ballplayer. You know, all hands on deck."
In his statement, Nicks said he had no pain when he woke up Friday morning but that "your body has to wake up. I think [Friday] was definitely not a setback. I can say that."
So we'll see.