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Giants get mixed results on health of players for Sunday

Giants' Hakeem Nicks watches a video replay and

Giants' Hakeem Nicks watches a video replay and signals touchdown in the third quarter of a game against the Packers on Nov. 25, 2012. Credit: David Pokress

There was good and bad news for the Giants Friday. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and linebacker Jacquian Williams practiced but the Giants likely will be without safety Kenny Phillips, who is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Saints at MetLife Stadium.

Nicks is listed as questionable but is expected to play. Phillips sat out another practice session.

"It's just an opportunity for another guy to step up and play," cornerback Corey Webster said of facing Drew Brees' pass-heavy Saints offense without Phillips. "That's nothing new for us."

It isn't. Phillips, who had microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2009, missed six games this season after spraining his right MCL in Week 4. Phillips returned but soon aggravated the injury against the Packers on Nov. 25. He played sparingly against the Redskins on Monday night and was unable to practice at all this week.

"We'll see, but he hasn't been able to do a whole lot, let's just put it that way," said coach Tom Coughlin, who seemingly has grown frustrated by Phillips' week-to-week status. "I've tried to learn how to deal with that one."

Phillips wasn't available to the media for comment.

Stevie Brown has performed well in Phillips' place -- his five interceptions are tied for second most in the NFL -- and Will Hill could get significant playing time as part of the Giants' three-safety package.

"If [Phillips] isn't able to go,'' Webster said, "those guys will step up to the challenge."

Hill returned to the team last month after a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

"He's practiced on special teams and in multiple roles on defense," Coughlin said of Hill. "If called upon, I think he'd be able to do that."

Nicks, who has dealt with knee and foot pain most of this season, was limited in practice Friday after sitting out Thursday with a sore knee.

The Giants' defense could receive a boost with the likely return of Williams, a linebacker who has been out since Oct. 14 with a posterior cruciate ligament injury. Williams practiced fully and is listed as probable.

Rust notwithstanding, his speed should help in covering Jimmy Graham, the Saints' dynamic tight end.

"I practiced more than I ever did since the injury," said Williams, who still is awaiting official clearance from the medical staff. "My team can use me and I'm ready."

Notes & quotes: DT Linval Joseph was fined $7,875 for stomping on Redskins C Will Montgomery during a pile-up on a fumble in Monday's game, the league announced. Joseph appeared to pull his stomp short of a direct blow at the last moment, which likely saved him from a larger fine or even a suspension. Montgomery was fined $10,000 for kicking Joseph in the groin during the same altercation . . . RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) practiced for the first time this week and is listed as probable, as are DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back), WR Domenik Hixon (ankle) and linebackers Michael Boley (shoulder) and Chase Blackburn (ankle). TE Travis Beckum and S Tyler Sash are out.

With Tom Rock

New York Sports