As if the New York Giants and Victor Cruz weren't involved in enough of a stare down, fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sent the team a little message by not showing up for practice Wednesday. Pay day is coming soon for Nicks, too. That was the unstated goal of Nicks' not attending the Giants' organized team activity practice, a source indicated Wednesday. Strictly speaking, Nicks didn't violate any rules. OTAs are, after all, voluntary. However, in the lexicon of NFL, voluntary is a synonym for mandatory. Even if that's an oxymoron. Then again, it doesn't take a bunch of SAT words to get the point Nicks was making by not showing up. His absence left quarterback Eli Manning throwing passes to the likes of Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle and Louis Murphy. That's a far cry from the group that carried the Giants to a Super Bowl victory a little more than 15 months ago. Manning handled that situation well. He expressed only the mildest disappointment with Nicks' and Cruz's absence, saying this was an important time of year to work on timing. "You'd like everybody to be here so we can work on getting better, but you deal with what you have and go on," Manning said. It's also not as if Nicks wasn't around. On Tuesday night, Nicks was at a Giants charity function for United Way. By the time Wednesday morning came for everyone to run around in shorts and t-shirts, Nicks wasn't around.