Victor Cruz, walking on crutches and wearing a protective boot, expects to play in Giants opener

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz reacts

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz reacts after making a reception during the first the first half. (Jan. 15, 2012) (Credit: AP )

Victor Cruz walked out of the Giants' training facility on crutches while wearing a protective boot on his left foot. He lifted himself on to a riser and stood behind a bank of microphones to address the media for the first time since suffering a bruised heel in Sunday's preseason game against the Colts.

"Why does everybody look so sad?" the wide receiver asked before the first question could be posed to him.

Perhaps he was talking to the perpetually glum reporters, but more likely he was talking to Giants fandom as a whole.

Ever since Cruz left the game after the fourth snap Sunday night, concern has been high for his health. He tried to alleviate those fears Tuesday, saying that an MRI showed blood and inflammation but no structural damage to his foot and sharing his expectations to play in the opener Sept. 8.

"Hopefully, I can be back before then," Cruz said. "But I do envision myself out here on the practice field, getting ready for that Cowboys game, getting ready to go down to Texas to play those guys. That's what I do envision."

Tom Coughlin said he is hoping that pans out, even if he was unsettled by seeing his star receiver hobbling around the building.

"If you look at him, you say: 'Oh my God, he's got crutches and a boot,' " the coach said. "They're doing all kinds of stuff to make sure he doesn't put any pressure on it."

Cruz is unlikely to play in any of the two remaining preseason games. The Giants officially are calling him "day to day."

"It's all about just getting better at this point," Cruz said. "I think I have a firm understanding of the offense, and me and Eli [Manning] have an understanding of how he likes to hit me and things we do out there on the field. So I'm not too concerned about it.

"Just a short setback. You never want to have one, but if there's a time to have one, it's now. So it's not bad."

Cruz said he injured the foot on the third snap of the game -- the same one that caused center David Baas to leave the game with a sprained MCL -- when the Colts were flagged for pass interference against him. "The defender's weight on top of mine landed on top of me, and I kind of landed on one single foot, so that's probably what happened to it," Cruz said. "I felt it go numb immediately. I knew something was wrong."

Cruz remained on the field for one more play, though, and after running a route into the end zone he limped off for good.

"I didn't hear anything pop," he said. "It just went numb on me. So I thought it was kind of just a sting. I tried to like shake it off for one more play. But I could just feel something was going on in the heel."

Cruz had an MRI on Monday.

"[It] just showed some blood in there in the area where the swelling is, and that was about it," he said. "No tear, nothing wrong with the bone, everything's fine. Which was a good sign, which was what I was worried about. Even though I didn't hear anything pop, but you never know with any injury. Now it's just the road to recovery."

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