EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Victor Cruz was home last night when he began to ponder the unfortunate circumstances that have prevented him from playing a football game for almost a year.
"I'm sitting down and I look up last night in the bedroom like, 'This has got to end,'" Cruz said today. "'I'm tired of looking at reporters every day. I'd rather be looking at green grass and number lines on the field.' You know what I mean? I haven't lost faith, I know that my time is going to come. When that time is, is still up in the air. But I know my time will come back here in a blue uniform with the New York Giants."
But as Cruz noted, when that will be remains a mystery. On Wednesday, Cruz aggravated the strained calf that has prevented him from practicing for six weeks. Today, he confirmed that yesterday he had a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection yesterday in the he hope that it will accelerate the healing in his strained left calf.
"Hopefully, it's able to make me feel better, and hopefully advance the recovery process in any way, shape, or form," Cruz said.
The doctors and athletic trainers did not spell out a timetable for his return. Cruz had already been declared out of the Giants' game Sunday in Buffalo.
"(I'm) probably going to last throughout the weekend then come in Monday, see how it feels, see what happens from there," Cruz said. "I won't know anything up until then."
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The good news, Cruz said, is an MRI revealed he sustained no new significant damage when he was forced off the practice field Wednesday after running a few pass patterns.
"It didn't cause any further damage," he said. "It wasn't as bad as the initial aggravation I suffered to the calf, so that's a positive. It just felt like something that when I was out there and I felt good, I didn't feel any issues, I didn't feel any problems leading in. But when I went to burst and explode was when I felt it. The minute I felt it, I went over to the side and told the training staff how I felt and things like that. They immediately just shut me down. It was something that happened kind of throughout the practice, nothing beforehand, nothing felt like it wasn't ready because I didn't have any pain."
Cruz will take any good news in what has become a long and frustrating saga. He last played in a game on Oct. 12, 2014, when he tore his patellar tendon in Philadelphia. Cruz was working his way back early in training camp before straining his calf. At the time, he never imagined he would miss at least the first four regular-season games.
He conceded the setback he suffered this week was difficult to accept.
"Obviously, not just physically but emotionally, too," Cruz said. "You gear up for that moment when you want to be ready to play and ready to go out there and perform and you have another setback. Hopefully it's the last setback. I'm going to continue to work hard, I'm going to continue to be the same person I am in regard to my work ethic and the strength it takes to get back and to physically go in that rehab room and do that work you need to do in order to succeed and get back on the field. That's never going to falter. So it's unfortunate, but it's something that I have to look forward to and turn it into a positive."
Coach Tom Coughlin said today the team is not considering putting Cruz on injured reserve.
"This team, this coaching staff, they believe in me," Cruz said. "And they've believed in me since I walked through this door and I showed them my ability. I want to give that back to them. I want to be out there and I want to play and they understand how much I want to play and how much I love this game. I want to just continue to prove that, continue to do what I need to do from a rehabilitation standpoint, and then see where it takes me."
But first, he must return to the field.
- Two players who practiced on Wednesday, defensive end Robert Ayers and defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, have joined Cruz on the will not play list in Buffalo. Ayers (hamstring) and Kuhn (knee) will sit out for the second week in a row.
With Ayers out, third-round draft choice Owa Odighizuwa could make his NFL debut.
"It puts that whole thing into play, for sure," Coughlin said, "in more than one way if he does get to dress."**>> 10 THINGS TO WATCH FOR VS. BILLS**
Tight end Jerome Cunningham (knee) will also miss his second straight game.
Tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and tight end Daniel Fells (ankle) are listed as questionable.
Flowers did not play in the victory over Washington last week. Asked what the rookie's chances are of playing in Buffalo, Coughlin said, "He was better. He was better yesterday and seems to be a little better today. We'll put our heads together on that one, for sure."
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion), Odighizuwa (foot) and running back Orleans Darkwa (knee) are probable.
- The Bills declared five players out of the game, including four starters: running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), guard John Miller (groin) and safety Aaron Williams (neck). Wideout Marquise Goodwin (ribs) also will not play.
- Willie Williams, a defensive back who played eight seasons for the Giants, passed away this week in his native Georgia. He was 73.
Williams played for the Giants in 1965, and from 1967-73. He joined the Giants as an eighth-round draft choice in 1965, from Grambling. Following his rookie season, Williams left the Giants to play for the Oakland Raiders, who were then in the American Football League. Williams returned to the Giants in 1967, and remained with the team for the rest of his career.
Williams played in exactly 100 games for the Giants. He intercepted 35 passes, including a career-high and NFL-leading 10 in 1968.
After playing nine seasons with the NFL and the AFL, Williams played two years with the Hawaiians of the World Football League in 1974 and 1975.
Williams' funeral will be tomorrow at noon in the St. Mark AME Church, 3605 Campbellton Road, Atlanta.