Jason Pierre-Paul made it through three days of practice, but the true test of his surgically repaired back could come Saturday during the Giants' three-hour plane ride to Dallas for the season opener against the Cowboys.
"I haven't been on a plane since I left California, so that's a big thing," said the defensive end, who is listed as questionable for Sunday night's game.
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Pierre-Paul, an All-Pro in 2011 and two-time Pro Bowler, had surgery in Los Angeles on June 4 to alleviate the pain he played with last season. He was pain-free all week while participating in practice on a limited basis, but he said he will not decide until game time whether he will play.
"I'm going out there and come game time, I'm going to ask the trainer, see how I feel and see where he's at with it," Pierre-Paul said. "I've been getting better. My back feels strong. I've been getting a couple of reps, so I'm feeling good right now."
The Giants got some good news on the offensive side when wide receiver Victor Cruz was listed as probable.
Cruz, recovering from a sore left heel, practiced on a limited basis all week and was waiting to talk to the team's medical staff to get official clearance.
Cruz, who has been one of the league's top receivers during the past two seasons, sounded determined to play in the season opener.
"I am confident. I feel good," he said. "I feel like I am in shape. I feel like the heel is much better. I'm not leaning or favoring the other leg. Feels good. I'm anxious to go out there and see what I can do on game day."
Notes & quotes: Cruz said he is "excited about next week" after watching Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throw for seven touchdowns in Denver's 49-27 win over the Ravens on Thursday night. Next week's Giants-Broncos game at MetLife Stadium, of course, will match Peyton Manning against his brother, Giants quarterback Eli Manning. When asked what he thought of Peyton's performance, Cruz said: "I hope some of that brotherly love rubs off on us [this week]." . . . Cornerback Jayron Hosley (ankle) is listed as probable . . . Fullback Henry Hynoski (knee) and defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder) are listed as questionable. Both were limited in practice Friday. Hynoski will travel to Dallas, but the thinking is that the team will hold him out for another week . . . Center David Baas (knee), tackle David Diehl (thumb) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) will not play.