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Domenik Hixon has a unique take on the game Monday night. "I'm going to the scene of the crime," he said.

Hixon has not stepped on the stadium turf since June 15, 2010, when he suffered a torn ACL while returning a punt in a minicamp practice. The injury required surgery and forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

Hixon had a team-high four receptions against Carolina and will take another step in his comeback by playing on the Giants' home field for the first time.

"I'm more excited than anything else," Hixon said. "It being my first game in the new stadium, it's just exciting."

Hixon did not attend any home games last year so he has not stepped foot on the field since the day he was injured. He said doing so is an important step in his rehabilitation.

"It really is," Hixon said. "Talking to guys who have been out before with injuries, the whole mental part of it (returning to the field where the injury occurred is important). It happens to be a home field, so you better get over it pretty quick."

*Wide receiver Ramses Barden has spent the entire training camp on the physically unable to perform list. He underwent surgery on his ankle after breaking a bone and tearing a ligament last Nov. 14 vs. Dallas. Progress has been slow, but Barden is hopeful of returning to the field soon.

"I can honestly say I feel it getting better," Barden said. "I've been able to do more and more.  Every couple days, another improvement."

Barden didn't want to speculate on what he must show or feel before he can practice.

"I'm leaving that up to the trainers," he said. "I know that when I get back I just want to pick up where I left off last year. In the Cowboys game I felt very comfortable. Things were coming to me, reading defenses and catching the ball, running routes and it was starting to feel like college again a little bit. I won't say it's easy but it was starting to come together and I want to pick right back up there. I've been in meetings and everything as if I'm going to practice with everybody else. Things are clicking, answering questions and I know the offense as good as I ever have, so I just can't wait for that opportunity.  Give me the nod, I'll put the cleats back on and get back out between the white lines."

Coughlin didn't seem as optimistic about Barden's short-term prospects.

"All I know is what they tell me and he has a ways to go," Coughlin said.

Coughlin said the starters will play 25-30 plays Monday against the Bears. He said the return game is "a huge objective for Monday night."

The Giants were without both of their starting cornerbacks in practice today. Corey Webster was excused to be a pallbearer at his uncle's funeral and Terrell Thomas has a sore leg. Coughlin said he expects both of them to play on Monday.

Also sitting out were wide receiver Darius Reynaud (hamstring), kicker Lawrence Tynes (quad), safety Brian Jackson (hip) and quarterback Sage Rosenfels (still feeling the effects of the strep throat that hospitalized him early in the week). Hixon and linebacker Clint Sintim had scheduled days off to rest their surgically-repaired knees.

Today was the last training camp practice open to the public. The Giants will have their standard day-before-a-game walkthrough tomorrow and break camp. The camp attendance was 781 yesterday and 1,127 today. The total camp attendance for the 13 practices that were open to the public was 14,478.

"You have to admit, this have been a very good schedule," Coughlin said of the team's first camp at the Timex Performance Center. "It is not practicing twice a day but it is a lot of meeting time. A lot of time spent together and (with the close of camp) that will change a little."

For the third consecutive year, the Giants and the NFL endorse USA Football and its mission of youth and amateur football development in the tri-state area and across the nation this August through USA Football Month. The national campaign takes place throughout the NFL preseason and incorporates youth football scrimmages at New Meadowlands Stadium, USA Football messages during network preseason telecasts, in-stadium banners and field stencils and promotions on www.giants.com. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the Giants, the NFL, the NFL Players Association and the league's other 31 teams. USA Football is the only organization in the NFL's 91-year history to be recognized as the league's official youth football development partner.

Approximately three million children age 6-14 play organized football in the United States, placing the game among the country's most popular youth sports. More than 400,000 American adults volunteer their time to teach and coach youth football each year.

The Indianapolis-based non-profit hosts more than 80 football training events annually, offering education and training for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. By the start of this football season, USA Football will have educated more than 70,000 youth football coaches across the country through its online coaching courses and 32 full-day coaching schools, 25 of which are conducted with NFL teams.

USA Football and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have worked together since 2007 to deliver concussion awareness and management information to America's youth sports community. Player health resources, including videos about concussion education, hydration and proper equipment fitting, are available at www.usafootball.com at no cost.

USA Football Month includes the following throughout August:

  • Youth football players receive preseason game tickets donated by the Giants.
  • USA Football commemorative coins used during preseason game coin flips across the NFL.
  • Youth football scrimmages in NFL stadiums on preseason game days.
  • USA Football messages promoting the sport's fundamentals will be read on-air during national game telecasts.
  • On-field promotions through USA Football field stencils and end zone banners.
  • In-stadium USA Football Month scoreboard video messages

"From youth leagues to the NFL, football captures the imagination of all fans, regardless of age, and instills discipline, responsibility and physical fitness in our young people," USA Football Executive Director  Scott Hallenbeck. "USA Football is proud to be the Giants official youth football development partner."


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