Steve Smith Has Yet to Rule Out Sunday Return
Nicks, who's tied for second in the NFC with nine touchdown catches, fourth with 62 receptions and fifth with 800 yards, and Smith, who set a franchise record with 107 catches in 2009 along with 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns, likely won't play again Sunday against Washington either although the latter hasn't totally closed the door.
"It felt good," Smith said after participating in individual drills on Wednesday. "It feels like my motion's there. It's just like a mental thing, a confidence thing now. They say that it's just going to be a little bit of discomfort, but you've got to go out there and feel it out for yourself."
Smith stepped up his workload today but apparently not enough that he had to really stretch for a ball.
Nicks still isn't sure how he was hurt in Week 10 at Philadelphia and he wasn't expecting the subsequent MRI to reveal significant damage.
"It was just something that I started noticing my leg was getting a little tight," Nicks said more than a week after having surgery to repair compartment syndrome in his right leg. "[The doctors] said, 'You've got to have immediate surgery.' [Now it's about] just keeping the wound clean, make sure that's healed up."
While Nicks expects to miss next week's game at Minnesota as well. Smith, who has been sidelined for three games with a torn pectoral muscle, plans to return at least in time to face the Vikings. Smith has 47 catches, 517 yards and three touchdowns in eight games this year.
Manning put a positive spin on not having Nicks and Smith in the lineup.
"In a sense it kind of makes it easier to prepare because you don't have to look at all of these different [possibilities]," Manning said. "We don't have any [plays with] four wides, so if four wides comes up, you don't have to watch that. If you simplify your offense, you simplify your personnel, you simplify what the defense can do also. It's not that you're simplifying things, you're just not changing personnel quite as much. You're putting your best players on the field and that's what you want.
"We do three wides because we figure that we have three really talented receivers and want to get those guys on the field as much as possible. All of the sudden you're short receivers, so let's get [backup tight end] Travis Beckum on the field more, let's see [starting tight end] Kevin Boss – put him in a situation to win for us. I'm more comfortable with these guys than a guy that has been here for five days and so that's just putting us in the best position to run our offense."