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Giants WR Hakeem Nicks Breaks Foot

According to the New York Giants, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot during a workout in the Timex Performance center field house, the team said Thursday. The injury will require surgery to insert a screw and the expected recovery time is 12 weeks. Surgery was scheduled for May 25 in Charlotte, N.C., and was to be performed by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist, the team said.

The defending Super Bowl champs said that Nicks was injured early in the team’s second workout of the OTA (Organized Team Activity) program as the receiver was running during individual drills.

The injury is similar to the one suffered by Prince Amukamara, the team’s first-round draft choice, last summer during his first practice as a rookie. The Giants originally expected Amukamara to make his debut in October of last season but the young cornerback did not make it into action until November.

The injury to Nicks now places the spotlight on several young players who will be asked to fill the void left by Nicks. Victor Cruz, the success story of 2011, was set as the team’s No. 2 receiver from the slot with veteran Domenik Hixon, coming off a knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for the entire season, battling with second-year pro Jerrel Jernigan, third-year disappointment Ramses Barden and rookie Reuben Randle, the team’s second-round pick in this year’s draft all looking to fill the third hole. Now, the pressure will be on Cruz, Randle and Jernigan to hold down the fort. The injury may be a blessing in disguise for Barden, who is on the hot seat this year.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound Nicks, entering his fourth season, had come into his own in 2011 as a true No. 1 receiver. Last season, Nicks had 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns on 76 receptions and was second on the team in receiving behind the dynamic Cruz, who will become the go-to man for quarterback Eli Manning.

Nicks’ broken foot was the second major injury of the Giants’ OTA sessions so far. The team lost cornerback Brian Witherspoon on Wednesday to a torn ACL, the same injury he suffered in a preseason game last summer against Chicago; cornerback Terrell Thomas also tore up his knee in that same game. Witherspoon was waived/injured on Thursday.

If any of you are thinking that general manager Jerry Reese is calling Plaxico Burress as we speak, don’t bet on it. The team could bring back veteran Michael Clayton, who was released after the season. Veteran free agents who could be on the team’s short list include Jerricho Cotchery, Patrick Clayton, Braylon Edwards and Mike Sims-Walker.