Victor Cruz can hear the clock ticking on his comeback this year. "I'd be wrong to sit here and tell you I have plenty of time because it's Week 9 in the season," Cruz said. "I missed a good chunk of time already. I just want to get out there and be 100 percent and play . . . Lord knows I miss it with every ounce of my body."

Cruz took a step forward on Thursday, running for the first time since his aborted practice on Sept. 30. He did some straight-line jogging to test the calf strain that has kept him out of action since mid-August. "Even if it was just a light jog and picking up a little speed, it was good to be out there and feel like an athlete who can run again," he said.

Cruz said the MRIs on his calf have been clean and that it now is just a matter of physically pushing himself a bit more each day. Jogging will become running, which will become cutting, which will evolve into practicing. Playing? There still is no timetable for that, though there does seem to be a natural target.

"If I had to pick a time, after the bye obviously looks like a promising date," Cruz said of the Nov. 29 game at Washington. "But the doctors haven't said that, no one has told that to me. We're just one day at a time."

Odighizuwa's season over

Third-round pick Owa Odighizuwa's rookie season is over . . . almost. The Giants put the defensive end on injured reserve with a designation to return. He'll be eligible to practice on Dec. 17 and can be added to the active roster on Dec. 31. The Giants' regular-season finale is on Jan. 3.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

He missed the last game with a hamstring injury and missed the first three games with a foot injury. "[We're] disappointed in the fact that we didn't get to consistently work with him," Tom Coughlin said. "The missed time definitely affects the young player, without a doubt, especially in that position. He needs more work."

Giant steps

CB Prince Amukamara (left pectoral) practiced with a brace. He was limited and it seems the Giants are focusing on his return next week against the Patriots . . . WR Rueben Randle (hamstring) returned to practice and was limited . . . LB Jon Beason (ankle) did not practice and the Giants have no timetable for his return . . . TE Jerome Cunningham was added to the 53-man roster from the practice squad . . . WR Odell Beckham Jr. was asked what he was wishing for on his birthday on Thursday. "I wish that we win the game Sunday, and then one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that," he said. "The ones all the way after that, leading up to maybe hoisting the trophy one day."