Domenik Hixon #87 catches a pass at practice during training...

Domenik Hixon #87 catches a pass at practice during training camp at the Timex Performance Center. (Aug. 19, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Joe Epstein

If Domenik Hixon is going to play for the Giants this season, he can't avoid this any longer. The wide receiver has not stepped on the turf at New Meadowlands Stadium since June 2010, when his knee buckled while fielding a minicamp punt and he tore his ACL. Monday night, for the first time since that season-ending injury, Hixon will return to, as he called it, "the scene of the crime."

He said he likely will walk around the area that has haunted him for the last 14 months, maybe pat it down a little to make sure the FieldTurf is solid. And then he'll try to continue earning the No. 3 receiver job for which he seems to have the early lead.

"Talking to guys who have been out before with injuries, the whole mental part of it" is an important hurdle, Hixon said. "It happens to be a home field, so you better get over it pretty quick."

Hixon had a team-high four receptions in the preseason opener and has been practicing every other day as a scheduled precaution.


Back for more sacks?

Jay Cutler wasn't able to finish the game the last time the Bears faced the Giants in a nationally televised game from New Jersey. And he won't finish Monday night's either. He just hopes it's not for the same reason.

The Giants' defense knocked Cutler out of the game last year, recording 10 sacks -- nine against Cutler -- in a 17-3 win. Cutler, like most starters, will play about half the game Monday night. But after the Bears gave up nine sacks in their preseason opener against the Bills, there could be some reason for him to worry.

"You know, it's a preseason game so we've got to take it for what it is and do our job," Cutler said. "Hopefully we won't have a repeat of last year."

Justin Tuck, who had three sacks in last year's game, said the past has no impact on Monday night's game. At least for him and his teammates, anyway.

"Obviously they will have a chip knowing that we killed and embarrassed them as far as the O-line and things like that," Tuck said. "I know [offensive line coach Mike] Tice is going to bring that up and they are going to come in here ready to play. It gives us an opportunity to work, but last year is last year. I'm not even focused on the stuff we did last year."


Giant steps

The Giants are still expected to sign veteran DT Jimmy Kennedy early this week . . . Tom Coughlin said he would like to see a lot of snaps with Victor Cruz and Jerrel Jernigan in the slot . . . One position Coughlin wants to see improvement in is tight end. "That's a position that's got to get better," he said. "If the group that we have here can improve over the next couple of weeks, fine. If not, we've got to get better."

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