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Giants WR Nicks looks to return; O-line still decimated

New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks hopes to return soon from a scary leg injury that required emergency surgery 10 days ago.

Speaking with the media for the first time since having surgery on his lower left leg, Nicks said Wednesday he was expecting nothing more than an MRI exam following the Giants' 27-17 loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 21. Instead, he was told he needed an operation for Compartment Syndrome, which causes swelling and requires a procedure to relieve pressure on nerves and blood vessels.

"I went in and didn't expect anything," the second-year pro said. "I thought it was an MRI, and they say I need immediate surgery. I said, 'Now?' They said, 'We caught it just in time.'"

Nicks, the Giants leading receiver, said his leg swelled "maybe two inches."

He was scheduled to see a doctor later Wednesday night. There's no timetable for his return to the lineup, but the Star-Ledger reported Nicks believed he had a "realistic shot" of playing Dec. 12 at Minnesota. The Giants (7-4) take on the Washington Redskins (5-6) on Sunday.

Nicks has no idea how he was injured, just that his leg began getting tight during the Eagles game, then began to swell.

"It could have been (dangerous), so this was a blessing," Nicks said. "I'm keeping the wound clean and making sure that's the end of it."

Even after missing time, Nicks leads the Giants with 62 receptions for 800 yards and nine touchdowns this season. His injury was especially untimely because Steve Smith, who caught a team-record 107 balls last season, is out with a torn pectoral muscle.

Smith, who partially tore the muscle during drills Nov. 11, participated in individual drills Wednesday after being "talked into it," the Star-Ledger reported.

"Steve is working towards getting back to where he feels good about himself and the medical people are ready to put him out," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday. "He'll be on the side, but he'll do more running and more extensive work. He's put the pads on and done that, and hopefully, the progress keeps going."

Coughlin also said offensive tackle David Diehl, who suffered hip and hamstring injuries during the Giants' 41-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 7, was scheduled to participate in individual drills and "take a couple of plays to just see what his status is." Coughlin added that center Shaun O'Hara would do some running, but offensive tackle Shawn Andrews, who has been plagued by chronic back pain, isn't ready to return.

Cornerback Aaron Ross has undergone tests for what is believed to be a back strain, Coughlin said. Ross was expected to practice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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