Hakeem Nicks is being cautious and, at this point, who could blame him?
Nobody knows better how a misstep this time of year can cost you an entire season.
With the Giants assembling today as the next phase of the NFL’s off-season workout program begins – more than likely without unsigned star receiver Victor Cruz – Nicks won’t be able to step on the practice field free of flashbacks to how his 2012 campaign was sidetracked for all intents and purposes a year ago this week.
When Nicks broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during the Giants’ second organized team activity (OTA), the injury that ended up handcuffing Eli Manning and the offense received little fanfare.
That practice was closed to the media and news of what happened to Nicks was delivered via a press release. Stunning, for sure, but certainly not the kind of headline-grabber it would have been if reporters were present, especially not when assessing the situation in hindsight.
With all the attention devoted to Cruz’s contract situation, his future in a Giant uniform can’t be sized up without considering that of another soon-to-be free agent in Nicks.
One is expected to be there catching Manning passes and one probably won’t be in attendance.
But what we learned last season is that these two talented wide receivers go hand in hand, and as much as Big Blue need and want Cruz back, they have to take Nicks’ skill into account, as well.
And those questioning why Cruz isn’t going to join his teammates until the ink is dry on a new contract should look no further than what happened to Nicks last year.
When Nicks went down on the second day of OTAs, he was never the same and neither were the Giants.