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Victor Cruz absent as Giants begin voluntary workouts

Victor Cruz runs with the ball during a

Victor Cruz runs with the ball during a workout at Duke University in Durham, N.C. (April 11, 2013) Credit: AP

Victor Cruz did not show up Monday for the formal start of the Giants' voluntary offseason workouts, but that doesn't mean he's distancing himself from his teammates. Last week, the wide receiver -- who has yet to sign his restricted free-agency tender from the team -- was at Duke, taking part in informal workouts with quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Hakeem Nicks and Louis Murphy.

He undoubtedly got more out of those exercises than the CBA-sanctioned stretching and conditioning that took place at Timex Performance Center Monday.

"We set up where we could get some of our own guys to do a little three-day workout and just concentrate on football and the field stuff,'' Manning said of the workouts, which also included Broncos players working with Peyton Manning. "Once you get here, there is lifting, there is running, there are meetings. There is a lot going on.''

Other teams have until Friday to make Cruz an offer that the Giants can match or receive a first-round pick for, but that seems unlikely. Also unlikely is Cruz signing his one-year tender offer of $2.879 million soon. A long-term deal could be hammered out before he signs that tender.

As for the other receiver of some concern, Nicks said he has been running at full speed for several weeks after an injury-riddled 2012 season.

"I kept it simple because it was my first time running routes,'' Nicks said of last week's gathering. "My biggest thing is that I want my presence to be felt there with Eli.''

"It is always good to see him back healthy,'' Manning said. "He is still striving to get to 100 percent. Obviously, having a healthy Hakeem would definitely make our team much better.''

And having Nicks and Cruz together would be even better. But for now, that will have to wait.

Brown attends.RB Andre Brown, a restricted free agent who like Cruz has not signed his tender from the Giants, attended the start of voluntary workouts. Brown signed an injury waiver to participate.

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