Hakeem Nicks may play vs. 49ers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks practiced Thursday, albeit on a limited basis, and there is a chance he could play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Nicks has missed the Giants' past three games because of swelling in his knee and pain in his surgically repaired right foot.

"Got a chance to test it out a little bit," Nicks said. "The defining moment will be tomorrow, when I do a little bit more than individual [work], and see if I'm able to compete."

The Giants have won two of the three games they've played without Nicks. Fellow wideout Victor Cruz is tied for the league lead with five touchdown catches, and the team has gotten solid contributions from Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden and rookie Rueben Randle.

Nevertheless, having Nicks -- a two-time 1,000-yard receiver -- back on the field for the rematch of last year's NFC title game would be a big boost for the defending Super Bowl champs. Nicks has 14 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown in the two games he's played this season.

"Oh it is, no question," coach Tom Coughlin said when asked if the practice time Nicks has missed is a concern. "But he's into it -- he's in every meeting, he listens to every comment made about the other receivers, guys at his position, studies the tape. He's done all of those things."

Three Giants players did not practice at all Thursday, putting their availability for Sunday's game in serious doubt: defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (quadriceps); safety Kenny Phillips (knee); and running back Andre Brown (concussion).

Tight end Martellus Bennett (knee), linebacker Chase Blackburn (hip) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand/hamstring) also returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday.