EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Victor Cruz today again expressed confidence that he will be ready to work when the Giants open training camp on July 30.
"I believe so," he said. "I am listening to my body right now and the way it feels and I am almost there. Obviously, by late July, early August, I should be somewhere around 100 percent. I am feeling good."
Cruz upped the ante a few moments later, when he said he could pass the pre-training camp conditioning test if he had to take it today.
The sixth-year receiver is in the latter stages of an arduous rehabilitation from the surgery he underwent last October to repair a torn right patellar tendon. He missed the final 10 games of the 2014 season.
Cruz said the aspect of his makeup that has surprised him through the ordeal has been his patience.
"It is extremely difficult, especially seeing your teammates out there," he said. "Minicamp just began today. Everybody is getting out there and competing and things like that. It is definitely difficult, but you have to stay firm and listen to the trainers and do the things they advise you to do, and that is what I am doing."
Cruz clearly relishes the chance to return to the field.
"I just want to go out there and play and enjoy the second half of my career," he said. "A lot of guys don't get to play six, seven-plus years in this league and I just want to enjoy it."
The Giants' other Pro Bowl receiver, Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr., is not participating in team drills because of a sore hamstring.
Asked if Beckham will do anything this week, coach Tom Coughlin said, "I don't think so, but he was running around on the field out there. He seemed to be doing okay."
Beckham missed the first four games of the 2014 season with a right hamstring injury, but Coughlin said the team is not being extra cautious with him now because it's June.
"Whatever the medical people tell me is what we do," Coughlin said. "If he could go, he would be out there."
Eli Manning was asked about Beckham's absence.
"You always like to have all your guys out there to keep working on things," Manning said, "and for them to be getting reps and to get on the same page and for changing plays and getting the new concepts to get familiar. But we are going to work with whoever is out there and get better at whatever we've got to do. Hopefully we'll get him back for training camp where he doesn't miss any training camp time and doesn't miss any preseason or regular season games."
Cruz said having Beckham keeping him company on the sideline does not make his absence from the field any easier.
"I want him to be healthy and I want him to be playing," Cruz said. "I want him to be out there, so I can watch him and continue to watch him grow as a player in terms of learning new things and seeing him in his second year and things like that. It is just the nature of the beast right now. Obviously, from a mental standpoint, it helps me. We talk about it. We talk about how we feel. We talk about just coming in every day, just day-to-day. We have actually gotten closer the more time we have spent with each other. That is the only positive that comes from it. I want to see him playing and doing all the good things we all are accustomed to see him do." *
Manning said he is pleased with how he's been passing the ball this spring.
"I feel like I'm throwing it well," he said. "I feel like I got good juice on it and have a better feel for the offense coming in this spring than last year, so just keep getting better and keep trying to learn more concepts and get more familiar with some of the newer concepts we are doing and kind of expand within the offense."
It was suggested to Rueben Randle, the only one of the Giants' top three wideouts fully participating, that Manning has looked stronger this spring.
"I would definitely agree with you on that," Randle said. "He overthrew me twice and I don't ever recall that happening. That is something we noticed down at Duke working with him. We noticed that his arm got stronger and that is exciting for us."
- Linebacker Devon Kennard was also kept out of team drills because of a hamstring injury.
Check out the best photos from Tuesday's minicamp practice