Victor Cruz isn’t ready to announce he’s back. But he’s getting awfully close.
In an exclusive interview with Complex Sports Monday, the Giants wide receiver revealed that his injured calf “feels amazing” and “if it’s up to me” he would appear in New York’s next game.
The Giants host the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium Sunday.
Cruz is battling a nagging calf injury that has kept him sidelined since training camp and delayed “The Return,” his highly anticipated homecoming to the field, after suffering a devastating knee injury last season.
Since tweaking the calf before the Giants Week 4 victory over the Bills, Cruz has spent a lot of time off his feet, resting and rehabbing the muscle, including receiving a platelet rich plasma injection to speed up recovery. He doesn’t feel any pain and with MRIs no longer showing any damage to the area, all that stands between Cruz gaining clearance is proving to the Giants coaching staff that he’s the same old Cruz.
“I just need to practice full speed, show coaches that I can run the same I could run in the past, catch the ball the same way I would catch in the past,” Cruz said. “You know, finalize that, wake up the next day with no pain and do it again. That’s the biggest thing, having that consistency as we go along.”
Describing the Week 4 setback as “emotionally draining,” Cruz’s spirits were lifted by his family, friends, and teammates. In particular, Odell Beckham Jr.’s words stuck with Cruz.
“You know Odell he kind of saw it in my face when it happened and he was just like, ‘Don’t worry about it. There’s no one who can replace you. We’ll hold it down until you get back,’” Cruz said. “And that meant a lot to hear that from him and hear that from a few other teammates that really have my back.”
With the Giants receiving corps suffering a number of injuries in recent weeks, the pressure on Cruz from fans and outsiders to return has steadily increased. But he insists the only pressure he feels comes from himself.
“As far as the coaching staff and organization they’ve been great in letting me get myself together, understanding I faced a pretty bad injury the year before and letting me get my feet under me to get back onto the field,” Cruz said.
The former Pro Bowler does not have a target return date right now and will not have final say over whether he plays next Sunday or in two weeks.
“I think it’s all up to the coaches and doctors,” Cruz said. “But if it’s up to me it’s the very next game. It’s always like that."