Giants wideout Victor Cruz predicted he’d be back in the lineup once the real preparation for the Sept. 8 season opener commenced this week, and true to his word, No. 80 was on the field and practicing with his teammates Monday.
Cruz, who hasn’t worked with the team since mid-August after suffering a heel contusion and was seen in a walking boot and on crutches a day later, went through all the drills.
“I actually got the clearance today,” said Cruz. “I went in the training [room] and I was like, ‘How about a little individual today?’ And they was like, ‘You’re cleared to practice today, just go out there and if you feel anything just let us now.’ So that’s what we did and that’s what they let me do.”
Cruz never wavered from the belief that his injury was a “short-term speed bump” and said his only trepidation going forward is how his heel will react in the days following the cutting and changing of direction his position requires.
“My major concern’s coming out of those hard-breaking routes, curl routes, long hard-breaking routes things, and really digging my foot into the ground, stuff like that, so I’m excited [to see how his foot reacts],” Cruz said. “I made a curl catch and got a little bit of burst out of it, and it felt good. But I’m still going to go in there and ice down, stay ahead of schedule.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin was pleased to see his star wideout back in the mix, noting Big Blue needs to get that continuity back, as the starting receivers spent only three plays together in preseason action this summer.
The coach said it’d be nice to have more than just that handful of plays together to properly prepare for the Cowboys.
“You know you'd love to stand up on a band box and say, ‘All right, anybody who makes this team has got to practice,’ [because] we need to practice, but it just sometimes doesn’t work that way,” said Coughlin, adding that the real test will be Wednesday’s practice when the Dallas game plan gets implemented in earnest. “It’s very difficult to put together the kind of week that you need to have when you are at 53 and eight [practice-squad players], and out of the 53, there’s three or four of them that can’t practice. That becomes rather difficult. ... But if we can get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday in a solid week of normal preparation, I think we’ll be OK.”
Quarterback Eli Manning, ever the optimist, said he believes having Cruz back in the mix is the first step in getting the offense back to where it needs to be.
“He’s a guy that knows the offense very well, so it won’t take any time, timing-wise, to get back on the same page,” Manning said.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.