A few weeks ago, Victor Cruz said he was 80 percent recovered from the torn patellar tendon in his right knee. On Tuesday, he gave a new -- if lighthearted -- analysis.
"I'm 81 percent now," he said with a smile. "I'm going north. That's all that matters. I'm going up."
Cruz still isn't to the point where he can participate in workouts with the team in minicamp, but he's been doing plenty of running and cutting on the side without setbacks and remains convinced that he'll be back on the field for the start of training camp. He said one of his goals now is to pass the conditioning test on the first day the team reconvenes in late July and avoid starting camp on the PUP list.
"It definitely matters to me," Cruz said. "I want to come out here at the end of July and be ready to go. Be healthy and from a physical standpoint with my wind have everything ready to go come July 29th or 30th and then let the training staff kind of pull me back and let me know what they want from me."
Cruz said he could pass the conditioning test now if he had to. Whether he'll pass the pre-camp physical, that is another story.
Either way, Cruz does not expect to leap right into the action at the first whistle of training camp.
"I'd imagine they'll keep me kind of what I'm doing now but slowly integrating me back in, doing some individual drills, some 7-on-7, and working my way up from there," he said. "We'll see how it goes, but so far so good."
Cruz said he'll try to balance working hard and resting during the six or so weeks between the end of minicamp this week and the start of training camp.
"Obviously you want to push it and make sure you continue on the path of getting back to 100 percent, but you need your recovery days too," he said. "The training staff and myself are working on putting a regimen together that includes both of those things, so we'll see how that goes. But it'll definitely be a little of both. I don't want to come in sluggish or with tired muscles, I want to come in fresh, ready to run and ready to go."
Cruz said one side benefit of the injury was the opportunity it gave him to stand back for a few months and examine his career. He said the last four years have been "a blur" with him pushing as hard as he could -- and in a lot of different ventures besides football -- and having to rehab his knee gave him a chance to examine and appreciate what he's accomplished.
Now, though, it's getting to be time to get back to that grind.
"From an individual standpoint I just want to go out there and play and enjoy the second half of my career," he said. "Just enjoy it. A lot of guys don't get to play six, seven-plus years in this league and I just want to enjoy it."