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Rapid React: Hakeem Nicks breaks foot, Rueben Randle licks chops

Brad Evans
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Nicks' latest injury is a Giant worry for fanatics. (USP)

Toes, ankles, knees and now foot. The injury imp absolutely loves the taste of Hakeem Nicks' lower extremities.

Thursday afternoon during workouts, the wideout fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot, a setback that will likely sideline him for the next 12 weeks, and potentially longer.

Only two months out from the opening of Giants training camp, Nicks' availability is definitely in jeopardy. Best case scenario: He misses the first two weeks of camp, busts his tail over the final couple weeks of the exhibition season and suits up Week 1. Tom Coughlin is hopeful that scenario unfolds, but concedes it's very possible he will be without the playmaker's services to begin New York's championship defense September 5 versus rival Dallas, the NFL opener. From NFL.com:

Asked if Nicks will be ready for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, Sept. 5, Coughlin said that "it's probably going to be close."

"He feels very confident about it," Coughlin said. "The doctors have expressed it as being something that they think will heal very, very well."

However, Coughlin acknowledged that if Nicks takes the full 12 weeks to recover, "you're going to be sitting right up next to that opening game, and we certainly hope that Hakeem is correct in saying that he heals fast."

Coughlin said that when Nicks was injured, he was running the route as normal, then "all of a sudden, he started limping. I thought he rolled his ankle over; well, it wasn't his ankle."

Obviously, this is a devastating letdown for Nicks, who has yet to suit up over a full 16-game slate in his three-year career. Coming off a season in which he experienced a numbers dip due to the emergence of Victor Cruz, this just elevates concerns over his perceived status as a WR1 in 12-team leagues. Because of the slow-healing nature of the injury, it's entirely conceivable he will miss the first week or three of the regular season. Even if the former Pro Bowler recovers rapidly, he could prove largely ineffective out of the gate. He isn't blessed with Adrian Peterson's superhuman DNA. It takes time to get back into football shape. Currently the fifth WR off mock boards (26.2 ADP), his stock should tumble some 20-30 picks over the next few weeks. For the reasons discussed above, he's completely avoidable given the increased risk. At this point, A.J. Green, Steve Smith and Demariyus Thomas (Man-crush worthy with Peyton) are more attractive options.

If Nicks indeed dons street clothes against the 'Boys and beyond, Cruz certainly stands to benefit. Undoubtedly, last year's breakout sensation would garner 10-plus targets per game. Going some 10 picks after his teammate on average, the Salsa King is the more attractive of the pair. Move him up your cheat sheets.

Rookie Rueben Randle also receives an uptick in value due to the injury fallout. Originally, the LSU product was slated for slot work, filling the void left by Mario Manningham. But it's fathomable Coughlin will prep the youngster to play a variety of positions in the event Nicks is unavailable Week 1. If he meets the challenge, Randle could be a beast in the making. He possesses terrific size, hands, strength and awareness, particularly against zone coverages. Maintaining consistency will be key, but he is certainly capable of making a cannonball splash immediately. No question his ADP will rise (currently 159.4). Still, he should remain one of the finer post-100 picks available in drafts.

Nicks suffered a tough break Thursday, but his misfortune could lead Cruz/Randle investors to instant riches to begin 2012.

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