Hakeem Nicks said there is no way he won't be on the field this Sunday.
"C'mon, man,'' he said to the question. "It's Dallas, man.''
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But as has seemingly been the case all season with the wide receiver, there appears to be an underlying tension between the pull of helping the Giants win this season and the tug of Nicks' future on the business side of football.
Nicks reported an injury to the Giants Wednesday morning, Tom Coughlin said, even though Nicks told reporters Thursday that he had been playing with the discomfort all season. At first it was described as a groin injury, but Thursday Coughlin amended that, saying it actually was better described as "abdominal.''
Nicks said he had the injury looked at under advice from his agent. "It was never nothing serious,'' he said, "just a situation being the situation I'm in I just had to make sure I'm good.''
The situation he's in is playing the final year of his rookie contract with the Giants and looking to make an impression on any possible suitors for his services this coming offseason.
Nicks did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday.
The change from groin to abdomen wasn't the only adjusted description to come from Nicks Thursday. He insisted he was not "frustrated,'' although he used that word Sunday to describe his emotions in the game against the Packers when he failed to connect with Eli Manning on a potential touchdown pass, took himself out of the game and saw Manning throw an interception toward Louis Murphy, his replacement, who ran the wrong route.
"I'm not frustrated,'' Nicks said. "All that stuff they're saying about me wanting to be frustrated and all that, that's not my character, that's not me. I'm a team player, I know my role, I play it well and that's that.''
Nicks said it was his competitiveness, not frustration, that boiled over Sunday.
"Frustrated ain't the case at all,'' he said. "Competitive is completely separate from being frustrated, in my eyes anyway. I'm competitive because that's my nature. I've been like that since I was a little boy. I don't think nobody around here wants that to change.''
What everyone wants to change is Nicks' apparent banishment from the end zone. He hasn't caught a touchdown pass in the last 13 games despite numerous targets in the red zone (including the infamous one Sunday against the Packers). And while he's had big games against the Cowboys, including five catches for 114 yards in the opener this September, he hasn't scored against them since the 2011 regular-season finale.
Like the rest of the Giants, Nicks seems convinced that if they can eliminate their turnovers Sunday they'll be able to move the ball well against a Cowboys defense they typically put up big numbers against.
"We know what we can do,'' Nicks said. "I know what I'm capable of. Just got to take advantage of the opportunities.''
Nicks is on pace for 67 receptions and 992 yards, numbers not as impressive as those he had in 2010 and 2011, but not as disappointing as last year when he battled through knee and foot injuries. As for his future with the Giants, it's unclear if he'll be back after this season. The team has locked up Victor Cruz for the foreseeable future, and Rueben Randle, who has caught Manning's last six touchdown passes, is emerging as a potential replacement.
Nicks has been adamant since last season that he does not want to discuss his contract situation in the media, but he's made veiled references to it throughout the season. Just as he did Thursday.
As part of his description of last Sunday's events, Nicks said the only times he gets frustrated are off the field.
"We're talking about football right now.''
With Nicks this season, sometimes it's hard to tell.