Hakeem Nicks reacts to a dropped pass in the first...

Hakeem Nicks reacts to a dropped pass in the first quarter as DeJon Gomesof the Washington Redskins looks on at MetLife Stadium. (Dec. 18, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

One of the things players who have had broken fifth metatarsals and other lower-body injuries say is that conditioning can be a challenge. A player can’t run, so it’s hard to stay in shape. Hakeem Nicks knows that. In fact, it may be one of the reasons why he’s a Giant.

While at the Combine before his rookie year, Nicks injured his hamstring. He weighed in at the Combine at a svelte 212 pounds. When he weighed in a few weeks later at his Pro Day workout he was up to 225 and looked sluggish. It may have scared some teams away from picking him higher in the first round of the 2009 draft. Nicks wound up falling to the Giants with the 29th pick.

The Giants set Nicks up with a nutritionist that summer and he reported to his rookie training camp at 202 pounds.

Back then I remember speaking to him about the weight fluctuations and he admitted to having a very sweet tooth.

“I got on a little diet,” he said, rattling off the foods he had to avoid. “Really a lot of candy and junk food. Debbie Cakes, Zebra Cakes, Oatmeal Cakes, stuff like that. I like a lot of snacks.”

Flash forward to the present day and Nicks is still battling those sugary urges as he recovers from the broken bone in his right foot.

“You just have to make sure you’re eating all the right things and not getting too big,” he said of staying in shape through this injury. “The doctor told me in two weeks I’ll be able to bike and do the elliptical and whatever so in about another week I’ll be able to do that stuff in the training room to keep my cardio up and my conditioning. Obviously I won’t be able to run, just running in the pool and stuff … I’ll have to be a pro and do all the other things I have to do for conditioning the upper body except for running.”

And stay away from those Debbie Cakes! Otherwise his chances of a smooth return from injury will be slimmer than he will be!

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