Ahmad Bradshaw expects to play

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw was back on the practice field Thursday after the team kept him out Wednesday with a wrist injury.

"He is practicing, he is fine," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "He has a sore wrist but he will work his way through that."

Bradshaw said the decision to hold him out a day was due in part to the wrist and in part to a lingering ankle injury, but he doesn't anticipate ball security issues based on the wrist. He fully expects to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

"You just got to maintain," Bradshaw said. "This is the time that counts and you've got to try to stay prepared."

As for the Vikings, quarterback Brett Favre watched practice again on Thursday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said that the decision to play Favre will not be made until closer to the game.

"I think he's made some progress," said Bevell before practice in a news conference. "He has a little bit more range of motion. I see him stretching and moving around. I think he's still obviously in some pain, particularly sleeping I think is not very comfortable. But I have seen him progress a little bit."

The Giants have had their share of injuries, but with four games left this season, they are starting to get players back. Wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith were both limited but are hoping to play Sunday. Nicks said he's gotten half of his stitches out, and could play with those that remain.

Coughlin said Nicks is ahead of schedule coming back from a left ankle fracture. He was given clearance by a doctor on Wednesday to practice, and a medical staff will have to evaluate him on Saturday to clear him for Sunday's game.

"He wants to play," Coughlin said. "So he is doing everything he can to get out there."

As for the offensive line, Shawn Andrews was in uniform Thursday, even if he didn't officially practice. The tackle went to the emergency room two weeks ago for lower back pain, and wore a brace in the locker room after practice. He said he has lost 15 pounds and is still coping with back pain.

He said he is confident he will play again before the end of the year.

"I was hoping very, very, very soon," said Andrews, who gave a wide smile when asked if he wanted to be ready for the next Philadelphia game.

Lineman David Diehl practiced fully again, and Shawn O'Hara practiced although O'Hara is not expected to play against the Vikings. Osi Umenyiora (knee) was also on the field and is expected to play.

"Whenever it comes down to the end of the season these games mean a little more," OL Rich Seubert said. "We need everybody back and everybody going."

Jane McManus is a columnist and reporter for ESPNNewYork.com.