Coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants knew Victor Cruz wouldn't show up for the organized team activity without a contract, so his absence was expected.
Not so with fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks.
Nicks surprised Coughlin Wednesday when he failed to show up for the team's first voluntary workout.
"I don't know," Coughlin said when asked about Nicks' status. "He should be here."
Nicks' agent, Peter Schaffer, did not immediately return an email by The Associated Press seeking comment.
Nicks had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in the offseason, so it is doubtful he would have been able to participate fully in the workout anyway.
Coughlin said the Nicks' knee was not the issue. He hurt it in the second week of last season and was never 100 percent again.
"He would have some kind of limitations, I'm sure," Coughlin said. "Not right away, but that is not the reason."
With his top two receivers out, Eli Manning got a chance to throw more balls to recently signed free agent Louis Murphy and young receivers Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan.
Murphy, who played with Carolina last season, was the most impressive, beating Corey Webster on a long pass that covered about 50 yards.
"We're getting everybody in there, getting them a lot of reps, getting on time with them. We're always going to get better," Manning said. "Whoever is on the field, we're going to expect them to go out there and play at a high level. So I think the more guys you have who are experienced and ready to play different positions, the better off we're going to be."
While some were surprised, Manning and most of the veterans didn't seem overly concerned about Nicks' absence. Manning insisted all he was worried about was getting better after the team missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
Defensive captain Justin Tuck hoped Nicks would be on hand Thursday.
"I realize no matter how much time they miss, if they come out on Sunday and play ball it will be forgotten anyway," Tuck said.
The Giants have nine OTAs scheduled and it's uncertain whether Cruz will attend any. Giants co-owner John Mara said recently that the team was close to reaching a new contract with Cruz, who has led the team in receiving the past two seasons, catching 86 passes for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012.
Nicks, who topped 1,000 yards receiving in 2010 and 2011, had an off year in 2012, catching 53 passes for 692 yards and three scores.
"You want to make sure your guys are healthy at the start of the year and that's always the number one thing, but you've also got to get some work," Manning said. "We need to improve. We've got to rep things. We've got to make sure we're doing everything we can to make sure we're playing at our best.
"That involves being healthy and also involves practice and getting reps."
Murphy showed he could stretch the field in Wednesday's workout, and also showed results from attending Manning's passing camp.
"That helped out a lot with getting the play calls, watching film with Eli, going through the plays, walking through and then doing two-a-days," the fifth-year receiver said. "So that was good to get down there with him and it was just learning how to catch the ball from him. Every quarterback throws the ball different and he throws a really nice ball, a great ball."
Randle, the Giants' second round pick in 2012, had 19 catches for 298 yards and three touchdowns last season.
"I'm looking to take a big step," Randle said. "Last year, I feel I didn't help the team enough."
Jernigan, a third round pick in 2011, needs to pick up his game. He had three catches for 22 yards in limited action last season.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride wants Jernigan to start making some plays.
"I don't think it's pressure," Jernigan said. "I'm going into my third year. I agree with him. It's time for me to go out there and start making plays and start helping my team out besides just special teams. "
The only real concern on Wednesday was a knee injury to fullback Henry Hynoski on the second play of a non-contact 11-on-11 drill. Hynoski, who was carted off the field, was scheduled to have an MRI.
"I handed the ball off and just saw him on the ground after," Manning said.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York