The excitement and pride Hakeem Nicks enjoyed this morning faded to sadness and disappointment in the afternoon when the Giants' star wide receiver learned he must sit out tomorrow night's game against the Carolina Panthers in his hometown of Charlotte – hours after he was selected as the NFC Offense Player of the Week for his outstanding performance last week in the Giants' 41-34 comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Yesterday, he said it was a "dream" to play a regular-season game in Charlotte.
But Nicks' surgically-repaired right foot was stepped on late in the Tampa Bay game. Nicks missed the Giants' practices on this short week, but said yesterday he expected to play. He was listed as questionable on the team's injury report, but upon further review, the team's medical staff offered an ironclad rebuttal. Nicks did not travel with the team to Charlotte.
The Giants will be short-handed when they face the Panthers in a meeting of 1-1 teams. Two other offensive starters, running back Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) and tackle David Diehl (knee) were declared our of the game. They were hurt against the Buccaneers. Also sidelined is the team's No. 3 receiver, Domenik Hixon, who suffered a concussion on Sunday.
Without Nicks and Hixon, the Giants will have four receivers available – Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden, Jerrell Jernigan (who was inactive the first two games) and rookie Rueben Randle.
This will be the seventh regular-season game Nicks will miss in his career. He last sat on Nov. 6, 2011 at New England with a hamstring injury.
Andre Brown or rookie David Wilson will start for Bradshaw and Da'Rel Scott could be active for the first time this season. Sean Locklear will play right tackle for Diehl, with Will Beatty stepping back in at left tackle.
Just three days ago, Nicks arguably played the finest game of his career, one that earned him his first Player of the Week accolade.
Nicks caught 10 passes for a career-high 199 yards, including a 23-yard reception for the Giants' first touchdown and a 50-yarder to set up Brown's game-winning score. It was the third time Nicks caught at least 10 passes in a regular-season game; his career high is 12 at Houston on Oct. 10, 2010. He also had 10 receptions in the Giants' victory over New England in Super Bowl XLVI.
His previous career-high yardage total was 165 at Green Bay in the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff Game and his regular-season best was 163 at Dallas on Dec. 11, 2011.
Nicks' 199 receiving yards were the sixth-highest total in franchise history and the most by a Giants receiver since Plaxico Burress had 204 yards vs. St. Louis on Oct. 2, 2005.
The Giants' other starting receiver, Cruz, caught 11 passes for 179 yards. The Giants were first team in NFL history with two players with at least 10 catches and at least 175 receiving yards in the same game.
It was just the second time in their history the Giants had two receivers with at least 10 catches in the same game. On Sept. 20, 2009 at Dallas, Mario Manningham had 10 receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown and Steve Smith had 10 catches for 134 yards and a score.
In addition, Eli Manning passed for 510 yards. Manning, Cruz and Nicks joined three Hall of Famers – quarterback Norm Van Brocklin and receivers Elroy (Crazy Legs) Hirsh and Tom Fears of the 1951 Los Angeles Rams - as the only teammates in history with 500 passing yards, plus two receivers with at least 150 yards, in the same game. The Rams' trio accomplished the feat on Sept. 28, 1951 vs. the New York Yanks.
The Giants had two Offensive Player of the Week award winners in 2011 – Manning in Week 3 at Philadelphia and running back Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Buffalo in Week 6 vs. Buffalo. Nicks is the first Giants wide receiver to win the award since Burress in Week 4 of the 2005 season after a victory over St. Louis.
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