COMMENTARY | As much as he probably would like to forget about last season, New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has come to the realization that fighting through an injury-filled 2012 season was probably a bit of a blessing in disguise.
Oh sure, Nicks' production dropped significantly - his 692 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns were career lows. But at the same time, the Giants top wideout said he learned a lot above himself after going thought he experience.
"Nobody knew what I was going through but me," he said during a recent open media session at the team's East Rutherford, N.J. headquarters. "But I felt like I came out better than the average person would in that position. So I feel like I was blessed to come out the way I did."
Nicks, who said he fought through a knee injury for most of the season "for my team," said that among the things he learned was to simply take things in stride. And in doing so, he opted to have offseason surgery, the exact nature of which he declined to specify other than to describe as "a little minor procedure," to help correct the issue, a procedure he said he's happy he had.
"My body is feeling good. I still have a lot of time to still monitor and take care of it, so that's what I'm doing now getting back in the groove of things," he said.
Nicks was asked if he had any regrets about not handling his injury differently. "You can look at that and say that now, but when you're going through the situation it's a lot harder especially when you're competitive like the way I am," he said. "You just got to look back on it now and be glad that it's over with and that what I do."
Although the Giants are currently in the first Phase of their offseason program, a phase in which the only team sponsored event allowed is weight lifting and conditioning, and rehab work for those who are coming back from surgeries, Nicks plans to take things slowly so that come opening day, he's back to being the dynamic force he was prior to his injury.
"I'm looking at the bigger picture right now. My goal is to be full go by training camp. So this time that I have now I'm using to get myself back in football shape and football conditioning because it's been a while. That's all I'm doing right now."
He did through a little caution to the wind recently when he participated in a recent passing camp at Duke University run by his quarterback, Eli Manning, and Manning's brother, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, held under the watchful eye of the Manning brothers' former college position coach, David Cutcliffe.
"We do that once every offseason. That was actually my first time running routes with Eli," Nicks said. "I've been running, but it was my first time running routes with Eli. I felt pretty good. There weren't any setbacks with that."
That's partially the reason why Nicks is confident that he can get back to is previous form.
"My confidence is extremely high," he added. "I just look at it like when that time gets here then that's when it will take place.
Patricia Traina is a New Jersey-based, accredited sportswriter who has covered the New York Giants for 16 seasons with Inside Football. She is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow her on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.
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