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Coughlin reins in Nicks' optimistic timetable

Head coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants congratulates

Head coach Tom Coughlin of the Giants congratulates Hakeem Nicks during a game against the Seattle Seahawks. (Nov. 7, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

When Hakeem Nicks first broke the bone in his right foot last week, Tom Coughlin was just hoping that he'd be back for the start of the regular season. Tuesday, after speaking with the quick-healing receiver over the weekend, Coughlin sounded more like someone who is trying to slow Nicks' progress to a safe rate.

"Of course he's very optimistic," Coughlin said of Nicks, to whom he spoke Sunday night. " 'I'll be back for training camp' were his final words. I said 'OK.' I would accept it if he was maybe a day or two after the start of camp, that would be fine. But I really appreciated his optimism."

Coughlin and other players -- but not Nicks, who is resting at home -- were at the team's annual golf outing at Westchester Country Club raising money for the Giants Foundation, which helps youth-related charities in the tri-state area. Instead of talking about 18 holes, however, most of the conversation revolved around the fifth metatarsal, which is the bone Nicks broke Thursday.

"Hakeem's a strong individual," said cornerback Prince Amukamara, who also broke the fifth metatarsal early last season. "It varies on the person who heals the fastest but I'm sure he's going to come back great."

Wide receiver Domenik Hixon said he broke the same bone while training for the combine before he was drafted by the Broncos.

"It takes about three months or so," Hixon said of the recovery period, which is in line with the Giants' estimate of 12 weeks for Nicks. "It's not really the healing part, it's getting back into shape and all of that, but he stays in shape, so that won't be a problem."

Hixon is one of the players who will benefit from Nicks' absence for at least the rest of the offseason program. After missing two seasons with injuries, Hixon said he can use "all the reps I can get" and with Nicks sidelined, he's sure to see an increase.

The Giants will not bring in a veteran to bolster the receivers group, Coughlin said. "Looking for the next Victor Cruz, how's that one?" he said, a hint at the opportunity presented to the younger, unproven players. Asked directly if the Giants will consider Plaxico Burress, a free agent, Coughlin said no.

And why would they when Nicks' recovery timetable seems to be getting rosier by the hour? Coughlin said when they spoke Sunday Nicks said he was pain-free. He had a screw inserted in the bone roughly 24 hours after it broke, flying down to Charlotte for the procedure the same night he broke the bone. Even his surgery was ahead of schedule.

"Let's hope he does get back at the start or reasonably close to the start of camp and then we'll bring him along slow. And with his competitive heart, there's no question about him being ready to play," Coughlin said. "But we want to make sure that he comes at a time when he's healthy and he can play from then on out without any big issue."


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