And then there were four.
With the extra week to prepare for Super Bowl XLVI, Tom Coughlin wasn't going to take any chances as seven of his players did not practice yesterday. On Friday, RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), C David Baas (abdomen/neck), and LB Chase Blackburn (calf) returned to practice.
That meant WR Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), CB Corey Webster (hamstring), return specialist Will Blackmon (knee), and LB Jacquian Williams (foot) all sat out again.
Williams, who stripped the ball that led to New York's game-winning field goal in the NFC Championship, appeared during media availability for the first time sporting a walking boot on his right foot.
The rookie linebacker didn't know exactly when he sprained his foot in San Francisco, but will need time to rest the sore extremity. Williams, known for his speed, will soak up all the time he can get to be healthy for the Patriots' tight end tandem of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
"It's just a minor setback," Williams said on Friday. "It's just a better chance for me to get healthy and do a lot of mental stuff."
During his press conference later in the afternoon, Coughlin was asked about the impact of the team's medical staff, led by Ronnie Barnes, Senior Vice President of Medical Services.
"He's been here through them all," Coughlin said. "He does a tremendous job. The people in his department do a tremendous job and it is not an easy job in order to put people on the field on a weekly basis, have to face the head coach when he's saying, 'What do you mean the guy's not going to make it?' It's not an easy job, but he stands tall, works his tail off. He's completely devoted to his job – 24 hours. He's taken players over there on a Saturday night over to the hospital and what have you. And he's done it consistently for his entire career."
Meanwhile, the Gronk Watch continued before both teams head to Indianapolis. The record-setting tight end missed practice again on Friday as reports spread about his high ankle sprain.
Just like Gronkowski, Williams fully expects to play in the biggest game of their careers.
"My team is expecting me to rise," Williams said. "[My teammates] are letting me know I'm not a rookie. So it's time to step up and act like a vet."