Nicks is officially listed as doubtful due to foot and knee injuries. Nicks broke his foot early in the off-season and is now dealing with swelling in his knee. He appeared to aggravate his foot injury on his final catch in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed last week’s action against the Carolina Panthers.
In his place last week, Ramses Barden had his first start of his career and shined, catching 9 passes for 138 yards. It appears Barden will once again be asked to play a major role in the offense which at least will be getting Domenik Hixon back from a concussion suffered in Week 2.
Hixon will probably get the start opposite Victor Cruz but Barden will see plenty of action as the team’s third receiver. He quickly developed a rapport with Eli Manning against the Panthers and the two of them exploited a Panthers secondary that didn’t give Barden any respect and focused on Cruz.
Now, Barden is no longer a secret and it will be up to him to make catches in traffic and continue to show he can be a vital cog in the offense moving forward.
Obviously, the Giants would love to have Nicks back but there is no reason to rush him back on the field. Hixon is a very capable receiver and Barden looks like a completely different player than what he had been with the team in his first couple of seasons.
Barden’s emergence last week should give the Giants a little breathing room in dealing with Nicks’ injuries. Also, with Ahmad Bradshaw expected back, the Giants running game should be able to have a much greater impact this week than it has all year.
The Giants will need Nicks healthy when their schedule gets really tough in a couple of weeks.