WR Hakeem Nicks (knee) to play

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) said he will play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Nicks returned to practice Thursday and said the swelling in his knee is gone. He had missed Wednesday's practice and has battled knee and foot injuries all year.

"They say it's definitely getting better each week," Nicks said. "That's the one thing the coaches say, that they can tell I'm running a lot better each week versus when I first came back in the San (Francisco) game. Each week has definitely been better, so it's getting there."

It's been a rough year for Nicks both in terms of injuries and production. He broke his right foot in the offseason and had surgery that limited his practice time leading up to the team's opener against Dallas. He played in the first two games, including a 10-catch, 199-yard effort against Tampa Bay, but missed the following three games with foot issues and a swollen left knee.

Nicks missed practice Wednesday and said he was just taking a day off, as his knee was a little more "puffy" than it was after a game. Nicks said he did not have a setback, but the team wanted him to elevate his knee and stay off it.

He returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday and said everything is fine.

"I feel like I handle the foot a lot better than the knee, but it ain't nothing that I'm going to sit here making excuses about if I'm out there playing football," Nicks said. "I feel like men don't make no excuses, you deal with it. I'll be good, man, I'm all right."

Since he's returned, Nicks has yet to have a standout game like he did in Week 2 against Tampa Bay. In the past four games, he has just 13 catches for 153 yards and no touchdowns, including last weekend's effort against the Steelers when he had just one catch for 10 yards. In the first two games of the year, Nicks had totaled 14 catches for 237 yards and one touchdown.

The wide receiver, who has scored at least six touchdowns each season since the Giants selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft, said he believes the touchdowns and production will start coming. He also said he doesn't place much emphasis on stats.

"Stats is for girls, man," Nicks said before later clarifying through the team it's a saying from his high school coach in reference to players wanting to put up gaudy numbers to try to impress young women. "It's football, man. The season is going to be up and down. It's about how you ride the wave and if you let it affect you. I know I'm a great football player, and we're ready to make this run after the bye week."

This week, Nicks will try to get it started against a Bengals team that ranks among the bottom half of the league in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed per contest.

"Obviously as a receiver, me personally, you always want the ball," Nicks said. "You have to look at the positive side, look at the team side. Don't dwell on the negative thoughts because that can influence the team in the wrong way, and that's something you don't never want to have, influencing your team the wrong way. You have to be able to control your emotions. That's part of being a pro. And get the job done when you are called on."

With just Sunday's game before the bye, the wide receiver said he never thought about sitting this week to give himself two weeks to rest. He believes the week off, however, will be a boost.

"Just taking the time to rest with this week we'll have off, I'm sure it will definitely be beneficial and it will help," Nicks said.