Former Giants team physician Dr. Russell Warren told Victor Cruz this week that he was optimistic the wide receiver would be able to play on Monday night against the Bengals after suffering a sprained ankle last Sunday.
“Doc,” Cruz said he replied, “that’s the most positive thing I’ve heard you say to me in about three years. Thank you very much.”
Cruz has certainly been through plenty of less-than-pleasant conversations with doctors while recovering from a torn patellar tendon in 2013 and a calf injury that required surgery in 2014. This time, though, there appears to be a good chance he does not miss any game action.
That’s still far from certain. Cruz did not practice with the team on Thursday but worked with trainers. He said he felt good and the ankle has very little swelling. The likely test for him will be practicing on Sunday morning and then seeing how he wakes up on Monday for a gameday decision.
Even before his injury on Sunday, Cruz’s workload was dropping for the first time this season. Roger Lewis Jr. took some of his early snaps in the game as the Giants changed a few of their offensive personnel groupings.
“I think coach was just taking care of me a little bit,” Cruz said on Thursday. “He came up to me and said we’re moving some guys around and just making sure everybody is fresh and we’re using all of our tools. It’s just a matter of keeping everybody healthy and using all of our weapons.”
For Cruz, that’s going to be a key moving forward. He turns 30 on Friday and with his injury history, pacing is important.
“I want to play every snap,” Cruz said. “I’m a competitor in my soul, but obviously I listen to the coaching staff and the training staff. They want what’s best for me.”
That workload could dip further because of this ankle. There is always concern whenever Cruz suffers an injury, even one that could prove as innocuous as this. Cruz understands that. So when he felt the discomfort on Sunday the Giants gave him x-rays at MetLife Stadium then had an MRI taken on Monday.
“Especially with me, we’re going to get every picture we possibly can,” he said with a grin regarding his recent injury history. “Make sure everything is on the up and up . . . If I can go the rest of my career without having to lay on that bed for 45 minutes (for an MRI) I’ll take it.”
It’s an all-too familiar process for him, even if this time the result was a pleasant surprise.