Questions still surround Hakeem Nicks' absence from biggest game of the year

Hakeem Nicks celebrates his first-down catch in the

Hakeem Nicks celebrates his first-down catch in the first quarter of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 6, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

Coach Tom Coughlin didn't shed much light on the reasons why Hakeem Nicks was inactive Sunday after the wide receiver said earlier in the week that he would play. In fact, Coughlin's answers on the topic seemed to muddy the increasingly strange situation even further.

Asked if Nicks pushed the coaching and medical staffs to play, Coughlin said: "No, not really." Asked if Nicks, who was listed as questionable on the injury report, had tried to warm up before the game, Coughlin said: "No." Asked about Nicks' prediction that he would play, Coughlin said: "You'll have to ask him."

Coughlin did say that Nicks' injury initially was believed to be a hernia, but tests concluded it wasn't. It was officially described as an abdominal injury, and Nicks called it a strain during the week. Nicks made a point of saying that he had been playing with the injury all season and had it tested on the advice of his agent. He did not practice Wednesday and was limited in practices Thursday and Friday.

Nicks was unavailable to speak Monday.

Coughlin said the issue that kept Nicks off the field Sunday was his inability to run. "He probably can't be full speed," he said.

Nicks played plenty of games at less than full speed last year when he fought through knee and foot injuries. This year, though, he has been more reluctant to play while hurt. That might be because of his looming free agency after this season.

Nicks' frustrations with not catching any touchdown passes this season boiled over last week against the Packers when he was unable to catch a pass in the end zone and took himself out of the game for several snaps. Asked if that disappointment had anything to do with Nicks' absence, Coughlin said no but added, "There's a lot of frustration today."

Giant steps

Coughlin said he was "most concerned and disappointed" in the Giants' "actual disregard for the rules" that led to 11 enforced penalties against the team, including three personal fouls. "In the first game it was the turnovers and this game it was penalties," he said, comparing the two losses to the Cowboys . . . Center Jim Cordle suffered damage to his left patellar tendon that likely will need surgery in the offseason, but Cordle said he hopes to play through the injury. He'll be re-examined Thursday . . . Coughlin originally thought officials should have blown the play dead before Victor Cruz fumbled in the first quarter, but after watching video, he said it was clear that Cruz's forward progress had not been stopped.

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