Excerpt: "The replacement receivers have done a wonderful job filling in for Hakeem Nicks during his three-week absence. At times, their big games have made the drop-off hard to notice.

But there’s just something undeniably special for the Giants about having Nicks on the field with the offense. And the 24-year-old receiver knows it, too.

“Definitely. We all know that,” Nicks said on Thursday. “We all know what I can bring to the table when I’m out there. Right now it’s just a matter of making sure I’m able to compete at the highest level when I’m out there. It’s just a matter of me taking care of my body.

“(Friday) will be the defining day.”

Whether or not Nicks can practice on Friday will likely define whether he’ll be able to play on Sunday when the Giants (3-2) travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers (4-1) in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game. Nicks tested out his injured right foot and left knee in practice on Thursday for the first time in two weeks. And while Tom Coughlin said he “moved around OK,” Nicks said he was very limited and was just hoping to get a feel for his conditioning level." Read more...