Hakeem Nicks usually treats injury prognoses like a challenge. Doctors say he'll be ready in three weeks, he says he can play in one. They tell him to take a few series off to rest, he's back out there after two plays. He prides himself on being a fast healer and hates not being able to be on the field.
This time, though, he's not taking the timetable for the broken bone in his right foot as an affront to his recovery prowess. Although he believes he could be back for the start of training camp in nine weeks, he's going to abide by the schedule the Giants and their medical staff have put in front of him.
"We just don't want no setbacks," the wide receiver said Thursday during a conference call from his home in Charlotte, where he is recovering from surgery to repair his fractured fifth metatarsal.
"The team wants to take it 12 weeks, that's what we're giving it, so that's what we're going to go by,'' Nicks said. "My goal is always to come back earlier; we just don't want no setbacks. We have to play it smart and be ready for the season."
The season begins Sept. 5 against the Cowboys. Will Nicks be at full strength by then?
"I don't have any doubt," he said.
It's already been a week since Nicks broke the bone while cutting on a hook route in organized team activities May 24. In another week, he said, he'll be cleared to begin working on an exercise bike and elliptical machine.
He said he is "walking around pretty good now" in a walking boot and plans to rejoin the team for its next OTA on Monday. He'll also travel with the team to the White House next Friday.
When he does return, Nicks said he expects to ease back into practicing. He's not concerned about what he'll be missing in the offseason and early preseason.
"I know the plays, I know the whole offense, so that won't be hard," he said of catching up once he does return. "It's just going to be a matter of getting my wind back up and being able to put together 10-, 12-, 15-play drives without getting fatigued. After a few days of that, I think I'll be good.
"I definitely feel like I'll be ready to go when it's time to be ready to go."
And although the start of training camp would be an accomplishment -- and something he probably could push himself toward -- Nicks realizes that the real time to go isn't until September.