New York Giants' wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was a shell of himself this season, missing almost all of the preseason after breaking his foot in the spring and then suffering a knee injury that forced him to miss four games and severely limited his practice time during 2012.
General manager Jerry Reese, speaking to Mike Lupica on ESPN Radio Friday afternoon, finally admitted what had seemed obvious long ago -- that the Giants should have sat Nicks down for an extended period long before barely playing him just one snap in the season's final game.
"Hakeem Nicks has been one of the linchpins in our offense. He was banged up and I really think it took its toll on our offense and what we are trying to do.
"He was trying to fight through it," Reese continued. "But in hindsight, I think if we had to think about it again, maybe we would have taken him out a little quicker than we did. But that is neither here or there at this point. But I do think it affected the quarterback's play some."
Nicks caught 10 passes Week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but then missed three weeks after his knee began to swell. He caught only 39 passes and scored two touchdowns in the 11 games for which he was active the rest of the season. He finished the season with 53 catches.
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"I think not having Hakeem 100 percent for most of the season, really the last 10 weeks, can hurt. And he's out there playing hurt, and you love that toughness about it, that he wants to be out there," Manning said. "But it just made it tough when you're starting a receiver who's gotta win those one-on-one matchups and your deep threat and your playmaker all of a sudden kinda isn't making the deep plays and the big plays. It can be tough to adjust to that. And I think just our timing was off on a number of things."
Had the Giants chosen to rest Nicks a full 6-8 weeks when he originally suffered the knee injuey, perhaps using the short-term IR designation on him, he could perhaps have been healthy for the stretch run.