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Allen Returns To Practice, Itching To Play

After missing a game with a neck sprain, starting free safety Nate Allen is back on the practice field Wednesday, according to head coach Andy Reid. Allen suffered the injury during the Week 9 win over the Indianapolis Colts and missed the subsequent week of practice. Now, with a big game on the horizon, the second-round pick is back where he belongs.

"I'm good to go," Allen said Wednesday. "I'm just ready to get back out there."

It's been a frustrating few weeks for Allen. First, in Week 7, he was part of a secondary that got torched by Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt to the tune of 225 receiving yards. Then, after a bye week to let the Titans game stew in his memory, Allen didn't make it through the first half against the Colts. Most rookies might let a chain of events like that get to them, but Allen is mature well beyond his experience level.

"Things happen during the season," he said. "It's a long season and you just have to bounce back."

Allen will have that opportunity this week in Sunday night's first-place showdown with the New York Giants. Because Allen did not play Monday night in the win over the Redskins, the safety is still looking for his first NFC East victory.

"It'll be a good test for us," Allen said of the Giants. The Giants' talented receiving corps is banged up at the moment, with Steve Smith likely out, but they still boast Hakeem Nicks, who has emerged as one of the best receivers in the league. Nicks has 56 catches (fourth in the NFL) for 735 yards (sixth) and nine touchdowns (tied for first).

"They're good," Nicks said. "Hakeem Nicks, he's real good. (Mario) Manningham, they're two great receivers. They've got a lot of speed. They're deep threat guys."

Most of all, Allen is looking forward to getting back on the field. While he enjoyed watching Monday night's nationally-televised romp - Allen called it "a show" - Allen missed the action.

"It was killing me because I wanted to be out there with the guys," Allen said. "I was trying to look at the game and see if I knew what the defense was in and sometimes it's tough, but I was definitely into it ... You just get that itch and you want to be out there."

-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:02 p.m., November 17

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