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Giants await return of injured teammates

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Victor Cruz won't return this season to help the Giants' offense but Rashad Jennings and Geoff Schwartz will. But when that occurs and how effective they will be remain mysteries to be solved.

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NEWS>Watch Giants vs. Cowboys Highlights>Experts look for answers following loss>NFC East Roundup: Week 7 In the booksPHOTOS>Gameday Photo TimelineVIDEOS>Watch Giants vs. Cowboys Highlights>Watch Giants Postgame ShowJennings, whose 176 yards against Houston in Week 3 is still the top individual performance by a back in the NFL this season, has been sidelined since spraining his left medial collateral ligament vs. Atlanta on Oct. 5. His replacement, rookie Andre Williams, ran for 59 and 51 yards and averaged 3.1 yards a carry in losses to Philadelphia and Dallas.

Asked today if the "dip" in the rushing attack is due to Jennings' absence, coach Tom Coughlin said, "There is no question that is a part of it, sure. The young man we have runs hard."

The Giants next play two weeks from tonight against Indianapolis, and Jennings is hopeful he will be in uniform for that game. The team will return to the practice field next Monday.

"I wanted to play last game," Jennings said of the 31-21 loss to the Cowboys yesterday. "I can't do what my body won't allow me to do. So obviously, I'm going to try again to get back for Monday and just take it day by day. We'll see how I wake up."

Jennings will stay in the metropolitan area to continue his treatment during the bye week.

"I'm preparing my body so when it heals up I can continue where I left off," he said. "We're going to start getting into a little bit more of the running this week, try to, and eventually get into the cuts. I'm lifting on it now so it's just taking its course. But I'm right on track."

Coughlin said Jennings won't necessarily cure whatever ills the running game has.

"You are talking about a running back coming back from an MCL," Coughlin said. "This is not an easy thing for Rashad either. He is well aware of that. It is his makeup that we are counting on. Again he is doing everything in his power, I can guarantee you that."

Schwartz has spent the first half of the season on injured reserve/designated for return after dislocating his toe in a preseason game on Aug. 22. He has begun running, but has yet to practice with the team.

"Schwartz has a long way to go," Coughlin said. "He has been standing on the sidelines for a long time now. We are going to have to get him on the practice field extensively before that happens."

Schwartz hopes to test his toe on the field next week.

I have to be able to practice to be able to play," Schwartz said. "The plan is to be back on Wednesday. That's kind of the plan right now, to test it out next week, or in two weeks.

"It does feel better. I can do a good amount of things without pads on and without people hitting me. Part of the issue is going to be how it reacts when I'm pushing and when I'm anchoring and when I'm playing 50 plays a game. I'm not going to know until I get out there on Wednesday."

  • Coughlin said linebacker Jon Beason will make a return visit to see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. Beason's toe continues to cost him playing time. He missed three games with the injury and left the game in Dallas. X-rays were negative, but Beason did not return to the game.
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had limited snaps yesterday and he will likely have to manage his back and hamstring injuries for at least several weeks.

"It is going to be a continuous kind of a thing here with (him)," Coughlin said. ""Will the rest help him? Sure it will."

Eli Manning said he texted to his brother, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who broke Brett Favre's NFL record with his 509th career touchdown pass in the Broncos' 42-14 rout of San Francisco.

"I just sent him a text," Manning said. "We were on the plane when it happened, so I got home and saw it and sent him a text message and said congrats and that I was proud of him. I haven't gotten to talk to him yet.

"I know he was proud of the win with it. I didn't get to see it happen live. You never play for individual awards and records and that type of stuff, but that's pretty special. The touchdown record is pretty special and I think it has an opportunity for sticking around a long, long time.

  • Tight end Larry Donnell has had a memorable first half of the season. His 33 receptions are just one less than team leader Rueben Randle and he is tied for the team lead with four touchdowns, including three in one game against Washington. But today, Donnell was thinking about the two fumbles he lost in the fourth quarter yesterday in Dallas, including one when the Giants were down seven points and looking to tie the score.

"Those things are going to stick in my mind," Donnell said. "When I'm in practice I'm going to work on those things and focus on those things harder so I can prevent things like that from happening. Like I said, I was just trying to get the extra couple yards to help the team but I got careless with the ball and that's not acceptable.

"I've got to do things better to prevent things like that from happening. We had a chance to win the game and I let the team down. That's something I'm going to get better at."

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