EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – They approached the podium in the media area at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center using identical silver and black crutches. Wide receiver Victor Cruz, wearing a gray walking boot on his left foot, was first. He was followed immediately by center David Baas, whose left knee was protected by a brace.
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"Hopefully, I can be back before then," Cruz said of the Dallas game. "But I do envision myself out here on the practice field, getting ready for that Cowboys game and getting ready to go down to Texas to play those guys. That's what I do envision."
Baas was asked if starting against the Cowboys is realistic for him.
"I think it is," he said. "That's what I expect, too. Obviously, I'm going to follow the doctor's orders and that's why we've got to take it week-by-week and see how it's progressing. It's kind of one of those annoying things that you've got to let go for a little bit. But I'm one of those guys that likes to work through this. I just want to be ready for my team."
Cruz is expected to be replaced in the starting lineup by Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan and perhaps Kevin Hardy in the slot when the Giants use three wide receivers. At center, the Giants could insert Jim Cordle, as they did in Sunday's game, or move Kevin Boothe from left guard to center, David Diehl from right tackle to left guard and insert first-round draft choice Justin Pugh at the tackle spot.
Cruz said he was hurt on the third snap of the game, when a long Eli Manning pass resulted in a 39-yard pass interference penalty on Greg Toler. Cruz stayed on the field for another play before retreating to the locker room for X-rays.
"On the way down, the defender's weight on top of mine landed on (me)," Cruz said. "I kind of planted on one single foot, so that's probably what happened to it. I felt it go numb immediately, I knew something was wrong. Good thing it's just a heel bruise, a heel contusion. It's not too bad."
Cruz later had an MRI.
"No tear, nothing wrong with the bone," he said. "Everything's fine, which was a good sign, which was what I was worried about. Even though I didn't hear anything pop, but you just never know with any injuries. I was happy about that. I'm just on the road to recovery."
Cruz is wearing the boot and using the crutches to keep weight off his foot.
"It's all about getting better at this point," he said. "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 the things we do out there on the field. I'm not too concerned about it. Obviously, I'm a guy that loves to practice, loves to be out there, but it's just a short setback. You would never want to have one, but if there's a time to have one, it's now."
Baas was hurt on the same series. He was examined by the team's medical staff on the sideline before heading inside for a more thorough evaluation.
"It's one of those unfortunate things, it's part of football," Baas said. "The D-tackle and the D-end kind of got tangled up on a twist and the D-tackle fell down and rolled right into me. I felt the pressure and I pulled my leg out as fast as I could. I'm kind of glad I did because it could have been a lot worse. I was definitely relieved that it's something that we can handle pretty quickly. I was lucky and am very fortunate. Now it's just time to get healthy."
Baas started all 16 games last season before undergoing "multiple" surgeries to fix the various injuries he played through. He worked hard to get back on the field for the first training camp practice but is not discouraged he will be idle for a while.
"I was frustrated the other day and I'm over it," he said. "I know I can bounce back from this just like I have everything else, so it's not something that I can't overcome.
"I'm just going to do everything I can to get back as fast as I can, but be smart about it. I just want to help this team win. I'm looking forward to doing that as fast as I can."