Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Victor Cruz wears walking boot, still confident of Week 1 return

As Victor Cruz got ready to meet the media Tuesday, he tried to paint a pretty picture for Giants fans despite the sight of the star wideout hobbling on crutches and in a walking boot. Cruz was upbeat and confident he will be ready for Week 1 in Dallas, but coach Tom Coughlin sounded less enthusiastic.

"Why does everybody look so sad?" Cruz asked as he limped up to the podium before yesterday’s practice. The result of a left heel injury suffered Sunday night against the Colts.

It seems likely Cruz will miss the rest of the preseason, but claimed he will be ready to practice the week leading up to the Sept. 8 opener against the Cowboys.

"Hopefully, I can be back before then," he said. "But I do see myself, envision myself out here on the practice field, getting ready for that Cowboys game, getting ready to go down to Texas to play those guys. That’s what I do envision."

Coughlin poured a bucket of cold reality on Cruz's self-diagnosis.

"Hopefully it’s not going to be a long time. Who knows? I don’t know that," said Coughlin. "He feels better from one day to the next, which is a good thing. Now if you look at him you say, ‘Oh, my God, he’s on crutches and a boot.’ So they’re doing all kinds of stuff to make sure that he doesn’t put any pressure on it. But he did feel better."

After signing a six-year, $45.9 million deal before training camp, Cruz got hurt three plays into Sunday’s 20-12 preseason loss to the Colts when he went for a deep ball from Eli Manning and cornerback Greg Toler committed interference and then landed on top of Cruz.

"On the way down, the defender’s weight landed on top of mine on one single foot. I felt it go numb and knew something was wrong immediately," Cruz said. "The MRI just showed some blood in there in the area where the swelling is, and that was about it. No tear, nothing wrong with the bone. Everything’s fine, which is a good sign, which is what I was worried about."

Cruz's MRI was reassuring.

"No tear, nothing wrong with the bone," he said. "Everything’s fine, which was a good sign, which was what I was worried about. Even though I didn’t hear anything pop, but you just never know with any injuries. I was happy about that. I’m just on the road to recovery"

Cruz is wearing the boot and using the crutches to keep weight off his foot.

"It’s all about getting better at this point," he said. "I think I have a firm understanding of the offense and me and Eli have an understanding of how he likes to hit me and the things we do out there on the field. I’m not too concerned about it. Obviously, I’m a guy that loves to practice, loves to be out there, but it’s just a short setback. You would never want to have one, but if there’s a time to have one, it’s now."

The Giants sent those MRI exam results to a specialist to confirm the initial diagnosis of a bruised heel, according to ESPN. After seeing Cruz’s fellow starting wideout Hakeem Nicks hobbled for much of last year, the Giants weren't taking any chances.

"I think it’s an injury where it’s predominantly the swelling that’s the issue, and once the swelling goes down, I think I’ll be OK," Cruz said. "I just want to be smart and want to make sure I’m 100 percent when I’m out there, and make sure that all the swelling is gone and ... attack it early. I don’t see it lingering or anything long-term with it. I feel good. I feel better than yesterday, which is a good sign."

Cruz will probably miss the final two preseason games and considerable practice time. Rueben Randle is most likely to step into his role as a starter. Playing on the outside yesterday at practice, Randle caught a pair of long touchdowns in 11-on-11 scrimmages.

"That’s what preseason is all about: opportunity. And opportunity is there,’’ Coughlin said. “Also hopefully we get to the game with Jernigan, [Brandon] Collins, those kind of people ready to contribute also. So it’ll be a great chance for them also."

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