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Coughlin feels Victor Cruz will return as good as before knee injury

Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Damontre Moore of

Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Damontre Moore of the Giants take the field for a game against the Arizona Cardinals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Jim McIsaac

PHOENIX - Tom Coughlin has no doubt Victor Cruz will return from his torn patellar tendon.

"I think he'll be the player that he was and hopefully better," he said at the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning.

As for when that will happen?

"I'd be careful of what I would say there," he said. "Hopefully it's the first game, but, you know what, if it isn't, we've done that one before. We just went through it."

He was referencing how rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was sidelined for the first few weeks of the 2014 season with a hamstring injury before the Giants unleashed him upon the world.

Coughlin said he saw Cruz doing some running in the Giants' fieldhouse recently. He said Cruz looks lighter and in shape.

"He's coming along very well," Coughlin said, adding that the medical staff has told him he can expect a full recovery.

There is no timeline for Cruz's return, and thanks to Beckham and Rueben Randle, there's no real pressure to get him back on the field as there was in recent years for post-surgical players such as Jason Pierre-Paul and Jon Beason.

Still, Coughlin did echo what Cruz has been saying for the last few weeks, that the start of training camp is a goal.

"Even if it's just to bring him [along]," Coughlin said. "You're not going to just throw him to the wind. He'll work his way through. But I would hope that would be the target."

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