Hakeem Nicks: 'No setbacks'

ALBANY, N.Y. –- New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks says he remains on schedule to return to practice sometime in mid-August and has suffered no setbacks with his surgically repaired right toe.

Nicks was placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of camp and is eligible to come off the list whenever he is cleared to practice in camp.

"Definitely," Nicks said when asked if his recovery is going as planned in his first meeting with reporters at training camp Sunday. "No setbacks, everything is going the way we planned. We're just sticking to the things that doctors and trainers told us to do."

"(Mid-August) sounds about right if that is what they are saying. I am seeing the doctors day in and day out. Everything looks good about it."

Nicks recently began running on grass and says he may start cutting soon, as well. He feels no pain, and his toe has been reacting well the day after running.

"There is no pain right now," Nicks said. "Ran on it before, next morning, responded very well. There is no pain, just a matter of being smart about it."

Nicks broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and had surgery on it May 25. The timetable for recovery was set for three months.

Nicks has long said he is a quick healer and wants to be back on the field, but the Giants are taking things cautiously with their top receiver.

"It definitely gets tempting (seeing teammates in practice) but sticking to the script like they said," Nicks said. "I definitely want to be out there but got to do the right thing and be smart about it, and I don't want to prolong this injury."

In his place, Victor Cruz has been the top receiver in practice and has made some spectacular one-handed catches during the first two sessions while displaying terrific chemistry with Eli Manning.

The team also has been able to get a closer look at the competition for the third receiver spot. Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle are vying to replace Mario Manningham. Hixon has been the starting receiver opposite Cruz in camp with Nicks out.

Nicks said he is not concerned about losing any of his timing with Manning while he recovers.

"I think we kind of got that relationship where I know what he likes and he knows me and my routes," Nicks said. "It is just a matter of making sure I am back in game shape so I don't come back and have other little nagging injuries come from that."

And when Nicks gets back into the fold, he believes the Giants receiving corps will pick up where it left off last season in the Super Bowl.

Nicks also hopes to continue his terrific play from the postseason. Against Atlanta, Nicks had six catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns and followed that up with seven receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Green Bay. In the Super Bowl, Nicks had 10 receptions for 109 yards against New England.

Nicks will be looking to post his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season this year.

"Nothing less, pick up where I left off at," he said of his own expectations for this season. "Contribute to the team the best way possible. Do what I need to do to be the best that I can be."

Nicks wore a hat with Muhammad Ali on it. When asked about it, Nicks said, "one of my favorite hats."

"He's the champ," Nicks added. "We're the champs."