In the vernacular of NFL players, the word "smart" often means "sidelined." So when Hakeem Nicks said Thursday that his hamstring injury is "something you have to be smart about," it was basically code for declaring himself out against the Patriots on Sunday.
"We have a long season ahead of us," he said. "If I have to sit out one week and come back the next, I would rather do that than being out for a while . . . I don't think it's anything crazy like it will be two, three or four weeks. It's a matter of me not wanting it to be there, so I have to be cautious about it and take care of it."
Nicks didn't officially say he won't play, although he did not finish the game against the Dolphins last Sunday and hasn't practiced this week. "I'm hoping to wake up and the pain will be gone," he said. But it is becoming clear that the Giants likely will play the Patriots without either their top receiver or top running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who is dealing with a foot injury.
Nicks's absence creates opportunity for Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, who are both strong starts against a Patriots secondary that has given up the most Adjusted FP to WRs this season.