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Nicks and Bradshaw practicing; Ballard likely out

New York Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw steps in to

New York Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw steps in to the end zone to score a touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets. (Dec. 24, 2011) Credit: AP

Hakeem Nicks said he would practice today. He’s a man of his word.

He said he will play on Sunday. It certainly looks like he’ll do that as well.

The wide receiver was sidelined for most of the week with a hamstring injury that flared up against the Jets on Saturday. But he got back on the field today and was doing some drills and catching passes.

Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) also returned for his weekly practice after missing the last two days. He’s been going once a week for the second half of the season, so he’s expected to play.

The two guys who have been limited all week were also practicing: Osi Umenyiora and Mario Manningham. Expect them to play on Sunday.

So for the most part it was all hands on deck – or as they now say, “all in” – for the Giants at Friday’s practice. The only guys not working were Mark Herzlich (ankle) and Jake Ballard (knee). Neither will likely be available for Sunday’s game.

Losing Ballard for a second straight week is a blow.

“It is a big concern because obviously Jake had worked his way into being a very important part of the puzzle,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said yesterday. “In the game in Dallas he was huge and as the game went on at the end and that last drive, they started using a technique that I hadn’t seen until I happened to be watching television and saw Romeo Crennel do it in Kansas City and all of a sudden they were doing it. They were punting two guys in like a punt coverage against Victor and we couldn’t win with Victor so we had to win somewhere else. There were a couple things you could do but one of the things and easy solution was to see if Jake could win and he made a huge play for us and got it right down to the one-yard line.

“It is a concern obviously. You wish Jake was there and could play but we have been fortunate this year that when guys have been hurt, people stepped up and filled in and have done a good job for us. We are looking forward to seeing what Travis (Beckum) can do. When he has been healthy, he has made some plays and hopefully he or Bear (Pascoe) will do it.”

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