For the last, oh, decade, it was pretty clear what an injured player needed to do to play in a game for the Giants.

Practice.

That's long been Tom Coughlin's guideline (since it sometimes was bent, it's hard to call it a rule). And it was fairly simple to determine when that happened. If a player wasn't on the field Wednesday, that didn't necessarily mean anything. If a guy missed Wednesday and Thursday, it was time to be concerned. Missing all three was the kiss-off and usually resulted in being ruled out on that afternoon's injury report.

Now, though, the Giants don't practice on the same schedule. So the injury schedule has changed as well.

Instead of working Wednesday through Friday in a typical week, the Giants now cram three days' worth of work into two - Wednesday and Thursday - followed by a recovery day and then a high-speed but brief workout on Saturday.

That limits the number of opportunities for injured players to get on the field and practice. Markus Kuhn, who is day-to-day with a knee sprain, said he doesn't even know what it means for his possible return. Thursday practices would seem to be the last chance to state your case to the coaches about your availability. The Giants and other teams issue their final injury report of the week on Fridays.

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"You always have to practice, that's always the key," Kuhn said of returning from injury. "I don't know if [Thursday] is or not. Maybe Saturday would be the last chance. Or Sunday morning. I think it depends on the situation, the person."

And then you have a player such as Victor Cruz who hasn't practiced in a month and who will need snaps before playing in a game. He'd normally have three days of practice in a week to prepare to play.Now, when he does return, he'll have just two. And a half.

"Don't forget there is a Saturday morning 45-minute session which is 80 percent to full speed," Coughlin said. "We do have an opportunity to utilize that as well."

But with the new schedule, there is no telling what the indicators of his - or anyone else's -- potential readiness will be.