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Giants cautiously optimistic about having Cruz and Beckham on field for training camp

New York Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz, left,

New York Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz, left, and Odell Beckham Jr. walk on the field during the second day of minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Giants were without two star receivers for this week's minicamp. When the team returns July 30, Tom Coughlin expects that to be rectified.

The coach said on Thursday that "the plan" is to have both Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. on the field for the start of training camp. Cruz missed the spring workouts while recovering from knee surgery; Beckham suffered a hamstring injury early in the workouts and spent the remainder of the practices sidelined.

"That's the plan," Coughlin said of having Beckham back six weeks from Friday.

Coughlin was less emphatic about Cruz beginning the camp and not being placed on the physically unable to perform list.

"That's not the intent," was as far as he would go. "It's my understanding that he will be ready to participate. How limited? We'll see. I can't tell you."

Cruz was -- and has been -- far more optimistic about getting the green light.

"The way I feel right now is right where I want to be," he said. "Right now I'm in a good place to move on and get to the next step."

The Giants are looking forward very much to having Cruz and Beckham together on the field for the first time in their careers.

"Any time you have two players like that and put them together," receivers coach Sean Ryan said, "there's a genuine sense of excitement."

Ryan also was cautious in that excitement.

"I'm not going to jump out there and say these are going to be the best two receivers to play together," he said. "I just think that's getting ahead of yourself. You take it one day at a time, you take care of them physically, and you get back to the foundation of your offense and we'll see where we go. We know these are two very talented guys, we know that."

This is the first time Cruz is coming off a serious injury and a lengthy rehabilitation. Beckham missed all of the offseason program, training camp and the first four weeks of the 2014 regular season with a hamstring injury. He wound up putting together a historic rookie season despite those absences, so the Giants are not especially concerned about his missing a few workouts over the last several weeks.

Clearly, however, the preference is not to endure such a lengthy convalescence this time.

"I want him on the field, just like he wants to be on the field," Coughlin said. "The next level he can attain is going to be accomplished by practicing."

Beckham reportedly was miffed by some jabs teammates have been taking at him for being relegated to the sideline, and he disappeared before a scheduled media availability on Thursday without speaking to reporters.

Coughlin downplayed whatever level of teasing there has been, calling it "well-intended shots just over the bow." Ryan joked that the players razz each other over what they eat for breakfast, so soft taunts about practice time come with the territory.

A more formal goad came from offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who noted that Beckham might not be the focus of the offense the way he was in the second half of last season. The Giants have a lot of other weapons they can turn to in 2015.

"Those opportunities are earned," he seemed to threaten.

"To me, every year is a new year and you have to come in and earn what's going to take place down the road," McAdoo said.

"It's not like riding a bike. It takes work to get there. And the sooner we can get everyone together, get on the same page, and get that chemistry built, the better."

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