Hakeem Nicks was one of seven injured Giants to sit out practice on Thursday. (US Presswire)

The Giants were without seven vital players at Thursday’s practice: WLB Michael Boley (hamstring), WR Hakeem Nicks (knee/foot) and cornerback Corey Webster (hand) rode the exercise bikes during practice while DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), S Kenny Phillips (knee), S Antrel Rolle (knee) and WR Ramses Barden (concussion) were all absent.

Rolle practiced on Wednesday, so he could just be sore or there was a legitimate setback.

If Rolle and Phillips are out, Stevie Brown and Tyler Sash -- who is returning from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy this week -- could be the Giants’ starting safeties against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

RG Chris Snee (hip), RT David Diehl (knee), WLB Keith Rivers (hamstring), C David Baas (hand) and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) all appeared to be limited. Cornerback Michael Coe (hamstring), who fully participated on Wednesday, did not appear to have any limitations Thursday.

The Giants might have to start Domenik Hixon opposite wide receiver Victor Cruz for the second consecutive week if Nicks’ situation doesn’t improve. He’s been fighting swelling in his left knee, but coach Tom Coughlin has not indicated any structural damage to the joint. Nicks hasn’t played since his nine-catch, 199-yard performance in the Week 2 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Webster has played the majority of the last two games with a broken right hand, so it’s interesting that he has yet to practice this week. If he can’t play, Coe or Hosley could start opposite cornerback Prince Amukamara.

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