Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Eagles last Oct. 12, said in a recent interview that his rehabilitation is going well but that "there's a long way to go and I don't want to rush anything."
Cruz told Complex.com that coming back from a torn patellar tendon in his right knee has one of the toughest things he has ever had to deal with. But the 28-year-old receiver believes he can recapture his form this season.
"It definitely is one of the most difficult things I've had to go through in my life," Cruz said. "Still currently going through it. It's not easy to come back from something like this and to work every day."
Cruz said the bulk of his rehab in recent weeks is "physically getting it stronger, getting the muscle back. Literally when you have surgery on your knee, the muscles atrophy and just go [away]. Your muscles just go [away]. So physically is definitely the hardest part right now."
He understands there will be a psychological challenge to returning, since many players are initially tentative once they come back. Cruz insists he'll overcome those issues.
"I think the mental aspect was early and then it'll be late," he said. "Early meaning when it first happened, thinking you probably won't be able to even run again; and late when you are able to run and jump and mentally being able to connect to your knee, saying that you can do all these things and not being afraid to do it. I think that's both sides of it."
The rehab has been going so well, Cruz said, that there are times when he has to remind himself to take it easy.
"Yeah, I'm kinda there right now," he said. "I've started to do some things and I'm starting to feel my knee getting better and responding better, but I understand there's a long way to go and a process and I don't want to rush anything. "
Cruz engaged in some light-hearted banter during the Complex.com interview, at one point playing a word association game. When given the name "Cowboys," Cruz responded: "Enemies." Then it was "Eagles." "Bigger enemies," he said. "Redskins." "Respectable enemies" was Cruz's answer.
And Cruz's choice for the NBA championship?
"Obviously, the Cleveland Cavaliers are taking it this year. Out of the East, at least. The only team that scares me -- and they're playing really well at the right time -- is the San Antonio Spurs. No matter what seeding they have, no matter what type of season they have when playoff time comes around, with their wisdom and the guys that they have who have been there and done it they're always in the mix. That's the only team that scares me. But I think definitely Cleveland coming out of the East ? I think they got the pieces together to make a run at it."