Nicks Probably Gone Again

Hakeem Nicks is injured again, this time with a broken toe that will probably keep him out of the regular-season finale in Washington. That doesn't bode well for the Giants' chances to lock down a postseason spot.

If getting four players named to the Pro Bowl is enough to keep you warm over a long offseason, then savor the selections of C Shaun O'Hara, G Chris Snee, DE Justin Tuck, and S Antrel Rolle to the NFC roster.

More power to you.

But if you actually need a playoff spot to take any satisfaction out of a season, then be worried. Be very worried. Not only does the Giants' playoff scenario present a totally up-hill climb for them, but wide receiver Hakeem Nicks probably won't make Sunday's regular-season finale in Washington.

Nicks broke his left big toe last week in the 45-17 debacle in Green Bay, and coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday that he doesn't expect the second-year playmaker to be available in Sunday's must-win game.

When asked if Nicks can play with a broken toe, Coughlin said, "I doubt it. We're going to have to see how he does. He can't play today."/p

Had it been the little toe, it might have been a different story. But the big toe is vital in pushing off, running, and cutting. Although Nicks is expected to be out for three weeks, which would bring the team up to the NFC Championship game were the Giants to make the playoffs, there are no plans right now to place him on injured reserve.

Nicks will join the ever-reliable Steve Smith on the sideline, which means Derek Hagan once again steps into the No. 2 receiver spot next to Mario Manningham. Hagan, after a good couple of games, showed his shortcomings in a two-catch, 11-yard effort against Green Bay.

Besides Nicks, O'Hara is also iffy after aggravating the Achilles/ankle condition that cost him three games at the start of the season. If he doesn't make it, it will be his 10th missed start, which makes his naming to his third straight Pro Bowl roster all the more incredulous. Even O'Hara admitted that Rich Seubert, who played the majority of snaps at center in O'Hara's absence, actually belongs there.

"Rich Seubert is the guy who to me has been our MVP this year," O'Hara said. "The things he's been able to do, coming back from shoulder surgery last year and seamlessly moving to center when I missed time. I think he did a great job. He really deserves a lot more credit than he gets."

That's about as far as the touchy-feely stuff goes, however. The 9-6 Giants know they're in a tough situation, especially after Philadelphia lost to Minnesota Tuesday night and guaranteed the NFC North champion Bears a first-round bye. Chicago would need almost a miracle -- Atlanta losing to lowly Carolina -- to rise to the NFC's top seed, so the Bears will have little to play for in Green Bay. The Giants, of course, need the Bears to beat the Packers, coupled with a Giants win over the Redskins, to reach the postseason as a sixth seed.

With 10 players on the injured list -- RB Ahmad Bradshaw has an ankle sprain, Rolle has an ankle, CB Corey Webster has bruised ribs, DT Chris Canty has a neck injury, and Tuck has a bruised chest -- the Giants may be too battered to put up a fight against even a lightweight Redskins team now led by Rex Grossman.

The coach staff has instructed them not to watch the scoreboard to see the progress of the Bears-Packers game, which also kicks off at 4:15 p.m.

"Really, to be honest with you, we'll coach our guys to play the game, play this game, the game we're in," Coughlin said. "Pay no attention to anything else. All you can do is take care of your own business. A greater example there isn't than last night," with the Eagles stunning loss to the Vikings.

"We preached, 'Take care of your own business, give yourself every opportunity, take care of your business and good things can happen to you,'" Coughlin continued. "So we'll play the game, be focused on the Washington Redskins, be focused on a divisional game on the road and whatever transpires will transpire."

Chances are, it won't produce a playoff spot. But, hey, at least they put some players on the Pro Bowl squad, right?


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