Giants head coach Tom Coughlin announced that his starters will see 12-15 snaps on Thursday’s preseason finale in New England, but don’t count on seeing wideout Victor Cruz until at least the regular season opener.
Cruz, who is still recovering from a left heel contusion, was seen walking around the Giants’ practice facilities sans the infamous walking boot and crutches. The Pro Bowl wideout will likely stay behind and rehab his foot when the team travels to New England, as he’s confident he’ll be ready for the Cowboys’ game on Sept. 8.
“I’m going to work diligently this week while the team’s away, focusing on getting myself right and getting ready to practice,” Cruz said, using Monday as his target return date to practice.
The receiver added he still has a little swelling in his heel the first time he sets his foot down on the floor.
“Once I get it going, it seems to loosen up a bit and feels better,” Cruz said. “I’m feeling good. Obviously I’m out of the boot now, so I’m looking forward to better days to come.”
Naturally, Coughlin wasn’t as optimistic about Cruz, as he took a more pointed route in discussing the progress of the wideout.
“From my understanding, he is getting better but it’s certainly not tomorrow morning,” Coughlin said when asked to predict a return date for Cruz.
The Paterson, N.J. native ran in the Alter G rehab machine during practice today and acknowledged there is a “good chance” he will test out his left heel by running on flat ground by the end of this week.
When asked how he’s been able to progress so quickly, Cruz listed a myriad of old-school — and new-age — ways.
“We’ve been doing the [stationary] bike, hot tub, cold tub and contrasting it. We’ve been doing a little massage, ice cup ... a bunch of different things,” Cruz said. “I’ve even been picking up marbles with my feet. There’s been a lot of different things, so all of it’s been beneficial — which is why I’m here in front of you guys [the media] bootless.”
Most who’ve seen Cruz’s bruised heel would think he’s lost his marbles following his declaration of running by week’s end and being ready for the Cowboys in 12 days. But for him, that’s always been the goal since he injured himself in the second preseason game simply because he’s seen the struggles of the offense without him and knows his teammates desperately need him in the lineup.
When asked how realistic it is to see No. 80 on the field in Cowboys’ Stadium, Cruz sounded defiant and almost put-off by the doubting eyes.
“Dallas is definitely a target date for me,” said Cruz. “I want to come out [and] get some days of practice in as well, once the doctors and the training staff lets me do so. We’re just taking it one day at a time, [but] absolutely I intend on being back by then. I just needed some time off the foot to get things going. And now that the boot’s off and I started feeling good again and I still have some time to recuperate ... this is just a small bump in the road.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.