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Andre Brown can't wait to return against Raiders Sunday

Andre Brown of the Giants runs the ball

Andre Brown of the Giants runs the ball against Lawrence Sidbury of the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Aug. 18, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Andre Brown has a countdown clock on his smartphone telling him exactly how many days, hours and minutes there are until Sunday's game against the Raiders kicks off, so it's no wonder he's treating his return like a holiday.

"I just can't wait," he said Wednesday. "I haven't been getting too much sleep because it's like Christmas. I'm just really looking forward to going back out there and playing."

Brown, who went on injured reserve with a designation to return at the start of the season, is expected to be activated Thursday. He hasn't played in a regular-season game since fracturing his leg last Nov. 25. He refractured it this summer. But he has been practicing for several weeks and has looked good. The Giants were counting on him to be a big part of their rushing offense this season after his breakout half-season in 2012.

"All I think about is when he played a year ago," Tom Coughlin said. "I'm looking forward to the return of that player, quite frankly."

Cruz: 'It's time'

Victor Cruz did not practice because of lingering issues with his neck, but he said both he and the Giants' sputtering offense will be ready to go on Sunday. "I think it's time," he said of seeing the explosive offense that was predicted. "I think we understand what position we're in."

Giant steps

Just a few weeks ago DE Jason Pierre-Paul said he might not get back to full strength until next season. On Wednesday, though, he said he's 90 percent there. "I feel great," he said. "I went out there and had a great practice. I'm starting to get that confidence back . . . Raiders coach Dennis Allen said he expects QB Terrelle Pryor (knee) to play but was less certain about RB Darren McFadden (hamstring).McFadden did not practice yesterday ? The Giants have until today at 4 p.m. to make a decision on DT Markus Kuhn: Either activate him off PUP or put him on season-ending injured reserve.

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