Hakeem Nicks was on the field with the Giants yesterday, running routes and hauling in passes from Eli Manning during the first workout of minicamp. Tom Coughlin was happy to see it, but it was also a reminder that the receiving corps is still incomplete.

He may have gotten one delinquent wideout back, there's still one more to go.

"The clock is running," Coughlin said as negotiations with Victor Cruz on a long-term deal are two days away from dragging out through the entirety of the offseason program. "The calendar dates are going by, fellas."

The Giants cannot fine Cruz for skipping out on the mandatory minicamp because he's not under contract. He has yet to sign his tender offer or that long-term deal that has been in the works since the fall. Now, it seems, the earliest the Giants may see Cruz back on the field for them is the start of training camp in late July.

"I've been optimistic since day one and it hasn't gotten me anywhere, has it?" Coughlin said of Cruz' absence. "I'll just continue to be that way."

Nicks, meanwhile, returned to the team after skipping three weeks worth of voluntary OTAs. He did not provide a reason to the media, but said he spoke with general manager Jerry Reese about it on the phone.

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"From my point of view he seemed understanding," Nicks said.

Nicks all but guaranteed he will not be a holdout at the start of training camp, saying he could not foresee a reason why he would not be on hand. In fact, he said his entire offseason is aimed at the start of camp and being fully recovered from knee surgery by then.

"My whole expectation was to be full-go at training camp," Nicks said. "That's still the mindset and I'm sure I'll be full-go."

Nicks said the one thing he regretted about missing the workouts was not communicating with the team better. The Giants expected him to be at the OTAs, particularly since he'd been at earlier offseason workouts. But then -- poof! -- he wasn't. Nicks spoke to Coughlin about that on Tuesday morning.

"I feel where he was coming from and I could have done a better job of reaching out," Nicks said. "When I finally got to talk to him we got things straightened out. Coach Coughlin, that's my guy, so I think that relationship can't go sour."

The two have different opinions on how much Nicks lost out on in the last three weeks. Nicks said there was nothing he missed. Coughlin saw things otherwise.

"He's definitely not in tune with where we are," Coughlin said. "We've had nine OTAs and we've thrown a lot at them. He's just had one meeting."

That's one more than Cruz has had.

But Nicks didn't show up to minicamp empty-handed. Besides himself he brought word from Cruz as well.

"He's doing good, his mind is in the right spot," Nicks said. "He understands the business side of it, he understands the game as well. He still loves this team. He still wants to be here."

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Until he gets a contract, though, he won't be.