Victor Cruz knew there would be a hiccup.
So when he had to miss his first practice of training camp on Wednesday with a strained calf muscle -- a brief interruption in his otherwise smooth return from a torn patellar tendon that also was expected to keep him from practicing on Thursday -- he was prepared. And a little relieved.
"I knew that the journey is long and hard," he said Thursday. "It wasn't going to be easy the rest of the way. I knew there would be something that would come up, whether it be out here on the field or with my body. But I'm excited that it's not something that's major. It's something I can get over, and something that's not going to be a huge hindrance."
And not, apparently, something directly associated with his knee. Cruz chalked the strain up to a little dehydration and an increase in his practice reps. He said he first felt it in Tuesday's practice and told the trainers about it toward the end of that workout. A few days of treatment have improved his condition greatly.
"It feels light years better than it did then," he said.
Just don't expect the Giants to trot Cruz onto the field for Saturday's preseason game against the Jaguars. While neither he nor Tom Coughlin would definitively rule him out, both suggested it would be smarter to give it one more week of rest from game action. That would allow Cruz to play in the third preseason game, against the Jets.
And why not? He kick-started his rookie season with an epic preseason performance against the Jets, so it makes sense that he return to face them for the beginning of what he has called the "second half" of his career.
"We are being cautious, and we are taking our time and making sure we're not doing anything out of the ordinary," Cruz said. "The training staff and myself have been extremely diligent with taking our time making sure we do this right."
He's so close to getting back on the field, there's no reason to stop that approach now. Even if he is dealing with the calf injury.
"You want to go out there in real-time action and get some good, solid work in with everyone else and [get] everyone ready to go, but sometimes that's not always the case," Cruz said. "I think these practices are pivotal in terms of getting everybody healthy, getting everybody out here understanding what we do in practice, because it's such a tedious game with all these little nuances that you have to learn and know, especially with our offense. That's the biggest thing for me is that we're focused in practice. Then I feel like the game stuff will come."