Last Sunday, Aaron Ross didn't play a single defensive snap in the Giants' loss to the Denver Broncos. This Sunday, he likely will start in place of injured Corey Webster against the Carolina Panthers.

But Ross said his larger role this week will have little bearing on his attitude and preparation.

"Every week, I go in preparing like I'm a starter," Ross said after Friday's practice. "You never know what's going to happen. In the first week when Prince Amukamara went down, I had to [know] the plays, know what I was going to do, know the formations . . . So I prepare like I'm a starter every week, no matter if I play or not."

Ross, in his seventh season, is in his second tour of duty with the Giants after playing for Jacksonville in 2012 before being cut. If he starts Sunday, it will mark his first start in a Giants uniform since Super Bowl XLVI. He played 35 snaps in the Giants' opener.

Webster practiced on Wednesday but missed Thursday and Friday with a hip injury. It is unclear how the injury occurred, but he is listed as doubtful for Sunday.

"Evidently, he has an issue with his hip flexor, in that area somewhere," coach Tom Coughlin said Friday. "We have so many guys who can go and Aaron is the guy who would go right away. We have, fortunately, a couple of guys who can play there."

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The Giants could modify their coverage plan to have Amukamara on Panthers receiver Steve Smith for the majority of the game. Terrell Thomas, who served as the Giants' slot cornerback in the last two games, also is expected to see a lot of action, though Coughlin declined to specify what his role will be.

Though Ross said his preparation hasn't changed for this game, he acknowledged that he is excited to have a chance to show the Giants what he's still capable of doing.

Said Ross: "I love to play. I love to compete. I'm a fierce competitor, so any time I get a chance to go out there, I'm super-excited."

Notes & quotes: Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks missed practice for personal reasons, the team said. He is expected to play Sunday. Tackle David Diehl (thumb) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) are out . . . Expect a high-scoring game, as the Giants' secondary isn't the only one that is banged up. Carolina safety Quintin Mikell (ankle) and cornerbacks D.J. Moore (knee) and Josh Thomas (concussion) are out; cornerback James Dockery (thumb) is questionable. Panthers running back Kenjon Barner (foot) also is out. Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (thigh) is questionable.