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WR Hakeem Nicks looking to return

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Hakeem Nicks hopes to see his first game action of the summer in the Giants' preseason finale Wednesday night vs. New England, but today Tom Coughlin was noncommittal about the wide receiver's status.

"It looks pretty good," Nicks said after practice at the Timex Performance Center. "I'm supposed to be able to take some live snaps this week. That's what coach told me yesterday when I asked him. Doctor said the same thing. So that's what we look forward to doing."

Coughlin will wait to see how Nicks' surgically-repaired foot responds after to today's practice, which was held in the Giants' field house.

"We'll see," Coughlin said. "I'm going to check. We were scheduled to go outside, as you know, and right at the time of practice we got the storm, so we came in here, and if he did well in here, then I would feel pretty good."

Nicks began practicing last week after coming off the physically unable to perform list, where he was placed at the beginning of training camp because of the foot he broke on May 24. He warmed up with the team but did not play vs. Chicago last Friday.

Although starters usually play little or not at all in the final preseason game, Nicks is eager to line up against another team before the regular season opener next week vs. Dallas.

"I definitely can't wait to go against some live action, knowing that somebody is going to be hitting me after I catch the ball," Nicks said. "It will get my feet wet a little bit for this opening game. That's what I look forward to, getting some live snaps and hopefully I get a couple routine routes down with Eli (Manning).

"It's always good (to play in a game) because in practice here, nobody is touching you. It's always just tag them off or whatever when you catch the ball. Being able to catch the ball and know you've got to really make a move and turn it on a little bit before you actually have to play the real season opener is good."

Manning would welcome the opportunity to throw to Nicks in the game.

"He's looking good," Manning said of Nicks, who caught a combined 104 passes in the regular season and postseason last year. "He seems to be running fine and making plays. He's been working these past few weeks. It looks like he's going to play this week, so it would be good to get some live action."

Nicks practiced fully for the first time a week ago. He said yesterday was the first time he was able to go full speed.

"I worked my way into it," Nicks said. "My first week back at practice, it was just get your feet back under you. Yesterday, I feel like I opened it up a little bit, sprinting to the end zone and running my routes full speed with the right releases."

Though he would have preferred to participate in camp from day one, Nicks has found a silver lining to being a late starter.

"I have fresh legs," he said. "I feel like I can just run. I think it will help me later in the season rather than sooner, so hopefully late in the season my legs will still be feeling somewhat fresh or better than they will be feeling normally around that time in the season."

Now he wants to see how those wheels perform in a live test.

"Once I test the waters a little bit and have to really give a good release versus some real legit coverage and going against an opposite team - that's what we're going to look forward to doing," Nicks said.

Nicks' emotions seldom rise too high or sink too low, so if Coughlin decides to keep him safely on the sidelines, he'll understand.

"As of right now I was told I was going to take some snaps," Nick said. "But if he decides to change, I'm sure he'll let me know and whatever the decision they make, I'm going to roll with it. I'm ready to go."

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