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Hakeem Nicks impresses in return to Giants practice


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning today went through a full practice for the first time with Hakeem Nicks, and made his first public comments about his former/current teammate since the wide receiver rejoined the team during the bye week.

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"He looks good," Manning said after the first-place Giants began preparing for their key NFC East game Sunday in Washington. "He looks like he's running well, grasping the offense. We just have to be smart and put him in there, make sure he knows what he can do so we can put him out there and play fast. He was running some routes and there's obviously certain routes we've thrown many times and read his body language and go over things. I think he's picked up things pretty quickly, and hopefully he can come in and help us out."

Nicks is learning a new offense during the season for the first time, but said it hasn't been overly difficult.

"This is year seven for me," Nicks said. "This is my fourth offense in the last three years (the Giants former system, plus those in Indianapolis and Tennessee). I've picked it up pretty well. It's just the terminology and the verbiage. But I'm taking my time, getting things down, and doing what I need to do to take care of that, make sure I'm on top of my game."

Nicks said he worked with both the scout team and the offense during practice.

"I came to play now," he said. "I came to play, I promise. I just want to continue to make plays and step in and fill the void or fill a role, whichever I need to do, and just make plays and contribute to the team."

The workout today was Nicks' first opportunity to be on the field with Odell Beckham Jr.

"He's got it, he's got it," Nicks said. "I think everybody knows that with the one on that Sunday night against Dallas when he posterized my man out there. I think he's good, though, he's a great talent. Haven't seen nothing as explosive as him in a while. He's definitely explosive. I ask him all the time, 'Where do you get that explosion from?' He works hard, I've seen that about him today. He's a great, humble kid and he's a great, great player for this team."

Nicks would like to be one as well. To do that, he must regain his once finely-tuned rapport with Manning.

"That's the goal," Manning said. "There's obviously some things - similar routes, similar things we've run many times. He knows how to do it. I don't know what the plan is on how much or where's he's going to be, or what all the thoughts are (about Nicks' playing time). But he practiced today and made some plays for us."

Now the Giants want to see him make them in a game.

Photos from Wednesday's Giants practice

• Jason Pierre-Paul was pleased he played in the two games prior to the bye, but said he is not yet the "old" JPP.

"I got a pretty ways to go," he said.

Could he get there this week in Washington? "I don't know," he said. "I'm out there helping my teammates the best I can, doing everything I can, giving it my all. As long as I do that, I know I'm happy with myself."

Pierre-Paul is still waiting to get his first sack of the season. Of course, he didn't play in the first eight games.

• Like many players on the eve of Thanksgiving, JPP was asked what he is thankful for. Given what he endured because of his Fourth of July fireworks accident, his answer was particularly poignant.

"I'm thankful to be alive," he said. "The situation I was in, I could have died or whatever. I'm just thankful to be alive, that's what I'm thankful for. I don't even have to eat, but I want to eat."

• Three Giants did not practice: tight end Larry Donnell (neck), linebacker Mark Herzlich (quad) and guard Justin Pugh (concussion). Donnell had expressed optimism on Monday that he would return to the field in Washington after missing the previous two games. But an MRI revealed he continues to have unresolved issues.

"I did the test a little earlier, so (we're) going to go try and figure it out," Donnell said. "We thought it was just spasms and a strain. I feel fine now, but I mean obviously something is wrong. So we've just got to figure it out and see what the process is."

Center Weston Richburg was limited because of the ankle sprain he suffered vs. New England on Nov. 15. Richburg is in a Catch-22 situation. His ankle would benefit from rest, but sitting out makes it difficult to prepare for the game.

"That's kind of how I feel," he said. "I want to be out there, that's what I get paid to do is play and practice. Obviously, I want to be out there and be in the mix. But rest is important for it, so I'm kind of caught in the middle."

Asked if he's optimistic about playing in Washington, Richburg said, "I'm always optimistic. I want to be back and play. It's up to me to keep that attitude, and do what I can to get back."

Like Richburg, linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Five players on the injury list practiced fully: cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (pectoral) and Leon McFadden (groin), defensive end Damontre Moore (hamstring), guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and linebacker Uani 'Unga (neck).

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