Victor Cruz missed the Giants’ last 26 games with knee and calf injuries, but the 29-year-old receiver said he feels almost completely healthy and is optimistic about finally resuming his career.
“Everything feels good. Just trying to stay the course, and everything is going according to plan,” Cruz said Tuesday at the BTIG Charity Day event at a Manhattan-based brokerage. “It’s been a long time. I just want to make sure I’m ready once that time (to play) comes around.”
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Cruz underwent reconstructive knee surgery after getting hurt in Philadelphia in Week 6 of the 2014 season, and he sat out last season because of a calf problem that eventually required surgery. He said he is nearly back to full strength and is running routes with teammates during offseason training.
“I’m pretty confident,’’ Cruz said, “and I feel good about how I feel, and I just want to continue to take steps in the right direction.”
He’s anxious about the long-term goal of playing, but short-term objectives are foremost in his mind. Asked if he is thinking much about September, when the regular season will begin, Cruz said, “Not often. I’m just worried about May 11, which is tomorrow.”
Cruz said the Giants’ training staff has put restrictions on him for now, but that he hasn’t experienced any setbacks and feels good about where he is at physically.
“I’m doing drills,” he said. “I’ve been running around, building my chemistry back up with Eli (Manning) and the guys and familiarizing myself with the route-running again. (The training staff) is just having me on somewhat of a pitch count.”
Asked if he will be 100 percent in time for training camp in late July, Cruz said he’s “not sure. I’m just trying to think about what the training staff has for me right now. That’s the plan in my mind. I just want to take the steps to get to that. As for right now, it’s all in their hands as far as what I’ll do in training camp.”
Cruz restructured his contract in the offseason, and the team added insurance at slot receiver by drafting Oklahoma wideout Sterling Shepard in the second round. He has been described as a younger version of Cruz, who said he doesn’t feel threatened by Shepard’s presence. Cruz said he even clapped when he heard Shepard had been drafted.
“I think it’s great,” Cruz said. “It’s an added weapon for us to have, and for Eli to have. We have more guys that can make plays and do big things with the football. I’m excited about that. You look at my game, you look at his game, you see some similarities there.”
But first things first.
“Our job,” Cruz said, “is to continue to focus on ourselves individually.”