EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants are giving wide receiver Victor Cruz’s bruised left heel a little extra medical attention.
The team’s leading receiver the past two seasons, Cruz walked to a podium Tuesday using crutches and with his foot in a boot. It raised some immediate concerns about the severity of his injury.
“Why does everyone look so sad,” Cruz quipped after looking at reporters.
The reality is the Giants are just being cautious with the regular-season opener at Dallas less than three weeks away. Cruz did not practice on Tuesday, and it seems unlikely that he will be a target for Eli Manning in the annual bragging rights preseason game at the Jets on Saturday night. He might not even play in the preseason finale against New England on Aug. 29 if Tom Coughlin wants to be very careful.
“It’s all about just getting better at this point,” said Cruz, who recently signed a $43 million contract extension. “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 things we do out there on the field. So I’m not too concerned about it. Obviously I’m a guy that loves to practice, loves to be out there. Just a short setback. And a time where – you never want to have one – but if there’s a time to have one, it’s now. So it’s not bad.”
Cruz bruised the heel Sunday night trying to catch a long pass from Manning on the opening series. It was a jump ball type of play, and one of the defenders came down on his foot. It immediately went numb.
The Giants have told him his status is day to day, but it looked more week to week with crutches and a boot.
The 26-year-old hopes to shed the crutches soon. He is being treated with ice and medication to reduce the swelling. He added he doesn’t think the injury will linger all season.
“Once the swelling goes down, I think I’ll be OK,” said Cruz, who grew up in nearby Paterson and created a spot for himself with the Giants catching three touchdowns as a free agent receiver against the Jets in 2010.
“I just want to be smart,” Cruz added.
Cruz didn’t think his injury was serious when it happened because he did not hear anything pop. He even stayed on the field for one more play before going to the bench.
An MRI showed some blood in the heel. There was no muscle tear and no broken bones, Cruz said, adding he expects to play in the opener.
“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,” he said. “That’s what I do envision.”
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org