EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -** Victor Cruz said today he doesn't know when he will return to practice, but is confident he will be ready to play in the Giants' regular-season opener in Dallas in 19 days.
A strained calf has sidelined Cruz for a week. He did not play in the Giants' first two preseason games, the first because the team wasn't ready for him to test his surgically-repaired knee under game conditions. The Giants next play Saturday night, as the home team in the MetLife Bowl against the Jets.
"I think obviously," Cruz said, "getting a couple days of good rehabilitation in, fixing the calf, and doing some things with the training staff, the things they have me doing in there, icing it, keeping it elevated at night, and things like that should keep the swelling down, and I should be out here ready to go for Dallas."
Cruz is looking for the proper balance sought by all injured players hoping for a rapid return to the field. He wants to heal as completely as possible, while also preparing for the season. Those can be conflicting goals.
"It's a little bit of both," said Cruz, who missed the last 10 games of the 2014 season after tearing his right patellar tendon. "You want to make sure that you stay healthy and you're out there at 100 percent. You never want to go out there and not be at your best, because that's how you get injured. Obviously, the next phase for me was getting back out on that field and getting back to playing again. I feel like once I'm out there, once the adrenaline is kicking in, once I get hit one time - I mean, it's football at the end of the day. It's a game I've been playing since I was young, so I just have to go out there and do it. I think part of that is being healthy, which is what I'm working hard toward."
Coach Tom Coughlin would like his veteran playmaker on the field, but the decision regarding Cruz's readiness will be made by the team's medical staff.
"I'm concerned," said Coughlin, who would not rule Cruz out of the game against the Jets. "Because obviously there were a couple of slotted opportunities (to play) there that didn't take place, or one. This would have been the second one, if he's not ready to go. But I would like to see him get out there, and be able to stay out there. That's what our real intent is. As soon as that can be done, that's possible, then that's what will happen."
Cruz is not the only injured player eager to get back into uniform. Another wide receiver, Rueben Randle, hasn't been on the field since the preseason opener in Cincinnati on Aug. 14 because of knee tendonitis. Coughlin said he's been told Randle will practice tomorrow. Randle said he expects to play on Saturday.
"As far as I know, I should be playing, so we will see how this week goes," Randle said. "It feels better now. I think I kind of rushed it earlier last week in (Cincinnati), but it feels much better now that I've had about a week or so off. So I'm just excited to finally get back to practice.
"It is just all about me keeping my body warmed up and make sure I'm properly stretched and not putting all the pressure on that knee tendon, so I'm just going to do a couple more exercises to make sure I keep that tendon loose."
On the defense, the depleted group of safeties will get reinforcements with the return today of Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe, and of rookie Landon Collins either today or tomorrow. All of them missed the victory over Jacksonville last week.
"Anybody that's been out, their classification when they first come back is limited," Coughlin said.
Collins has been sidelined since spraining his knee in the Cincinnati game.
"I feel great," Collins said. "I'm ready to get back on the field. Just take it day by day. Hopefully, get back to practicing today or tomorrow.'
Collins, the second-round draft choice who has a good chance to start, has done all the classroom work in his absence from the field.
"Just stay in the coaching staff meetings, our meetings, and one-on-one's with the coaches," Collins said. "Definitely with my teammates and making sure we're all on the same page. If I see something, I can tell them what to do, and if they still have questions, we still always ask each other questions about everything."
"He's in every meeting, he's in every plan, he's interested," Coughlin said. "After what he's missed on the field, he has an opportunity to listen to the coaches talk about it in the classroom. He's up to date on everything that we're doing."
- Coughlin did not have an update on linebacker Jon Beason, who is sidelined with a sprained knee suffered vs. the Jaguars.
- With all the injuries his team's been hit with, it's no surprise what attracted linebacker Ashlee Palmer to Coughlin. "Worked out very well," Coughlin said. "And I do like the fact that he's played without injury for quite some time. That could've been the reason right there."
Palmer has played in 80 consecutive regular-season games.
Photos of LB Ashlee Palmer's career with the Lions