We’ll wrap up the post-mortem blog posts here by going all the way back to the beginning of the season, when everything was new including that darn turf at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Yes, Domenik Hixon, the wide receiver whose knee buckled during a minicamp workout at the new place in June and wound up costing him the season, was in the Giants’ locker room on Monday for the first time since the injury (as far as reporters have seen him, anyway). And he said he isn’t thinking about coming back as the same player he was.
“To be honest with you, I think I can be better,” Hixon said. “The reason I say that is all the studying I did this year. I had a lot of time to myself and watching games and taking notes. From the outside looking in, you get a different perspective.”
Hixon was the first of five wide receivers to land on injured reserve for the Giants this season, and that doesn’t include Hakeem Nicks who might as well have gone there for the final game of the season with a broken toe. In between there was Sinorice Moss, Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden and Steve Smith.
Hixon said all of those injuries made it even more difficult to watch the season from afar.
“Especially with guys going down,” he said. “I just wanted to be out there to help out your team. It’s like family, so you see your family out there struggling with different things and just knowing that you can help but you cant be out there, it’s tough … It’s tough sitting back and watching.”
It was tough on those who had to work through it, too.
“Unfortunately we have a ton of injuries and the way that the injuries struck that one position is just unheard of,” Tom Coughlin said on Monday. “To lose receivers like we did this year and to go back and forth like we did … In most years you’re going to have injuries in this league, we all know that, and you’re going to play through them and you have teams that have them and keep on going and we did too. At the beginning of every year, what is your wish? You’d like to play the season with your players, the ones you put together in the beginning.
“Seeing Hixon in here today, it was nice seeing Domenik and to see him in good spirits and feeling good,” Coughlin added. “Steve was here today, Hakeem was here today, they were all here today.”
Of course they weren’t during the season. The only receiver who played 16 games this year was Mario Manningham. The rest were in a revolving door of uncertainty. Or, like Hixon, locked outside that door on injured reserve.
Hixon had surgery to repair his ACL, and is back to running and cutting these days. He’s training twice a day to keep in shape and build up endurance. And said he sought out some players who had gone through that procedure and come back from it. He had dinner with one of them a few weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio. It was Amani Toomer.
“We talked about how he tore his knee and came back,” Hixon said. “He came back and had a very successful career and did some great things. So I plan to do the same thing.”
And that turf that many pointed to for costing Hixon his season? The one that even a few weeks ago Coughlin practically crossed himself from when asked if the team would practice again at the stadium? Hixon said it wasn’t the turf’s fault that his knee buckled.
“It had nothing to do with the turf,” he said. “Just kind of a one-in-a-million thing that happened.”