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Victor Cruz’s groin injury makes it tough for Giants to evaluate him

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz remains on

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz remains on the sideline in Giants camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Monday, Aug 15, 2016. Credit: Brad Penner

Victor Cruz’s struggles with his groin injury remain “status quo,” Ben McAdoo said on Monday, adding that this convalescence twinned with his eased-in return from last year’s calf injury earlier in camp have left the Giants with very little on which to appraise the wide receiver’s readiness for the upcoming season.

“We’re building him up to get to the position where we can make an evaluation,” McAdoo said. “He had the hiccup. We’re hoping to get him some work on Wednesday.”

Cruz participated in some drills on Sunday, but McAdoo said after that workout that he still felt discomfort and was held to limited participation. On Monday, he did even less. He was not in pads while the rest of the team practiced in full gear and only did in-line jogging on the side with trainers.

Wednesday is the Giants’ next practice. McAdoo said it is too early in the week to make any decision on Cruz’s availability for Saturday’s preseason game against the Bills, but it would seem unlikely that he plays after missing a full week with the groin issue.

McAdoo said he and Cruz shared a “nice conversation” on Sunday afternoon after the workout. He described it as “a conversation between two men” and not an official meeting, but McAdoo refused to discuss the details or tone of their chat.

“We talked about some different things that might help him moving forward,” was all McAdoo said. “I support Victor 100 percent.”

Meanwhile, the rest of Giants training camp pushed on without Cruz. Young receivers are fighting for roster spots and well aware that Cruz’s status will affect their chances of making the 53-man roster and possibly the role they will play in the regular season.

“That’s just the mentality of the NFL, next man up,” receiver Myles White said. “Hopefully he’s back, though. You never want to see somebody who potentially had a Hall of Fame career go out like that. But I don’t think he will. I think he’s a very resilient guy. He’s obviously very positive, and that means a lot.”

Cruz isn’t the only Giant dealing with an injury. Cornerback Eli Apple, the team’s first-round pick, missed a second straight practice with a knee strain — he was jogging on the side with Cruz — and defensive end Kerry Wynn (groin) and fullback Nikita Whitlock (unannounced) did some light running as well. Wide receiver Geremy Davis (hamstring) was sidelined and doing some agility drills.

During practice, rookie cornerback Matt Smalley left with a shoulder injury he suffered battling wide receiver Darius Powe for a high pass in drills. Tight end Larry Donnell was carted off the field with hydration issues after wind sprints during the steamy afternoon. And guard John Jerry left practice early with an illness.

There was even a brush with alarm when Odell Beckham Jr. limped gingerly off the field after a drill. It appeared he aggravated the contusion he suffered two weeks ago and was rubbing and stretching the area above his left ankle. He eventually returned and McAdoo said there was “nothing to report” on Beckham.

Cruz, though, remains the focus of the injury watch, just as he has been all summer. And all of last summer, too.

White said he’s sure Cruz is “a little frustrated,” but noted that he’s “an upbeat guy” and has been “very, very positive” in the meetings with receivers.

“I think there are just precautionary things involved with him,” White said. “When he’s on the field he’s great, you can see it. It’s just about if he can get back and I’m sure he’s going to get back and be the same guy he’s always been.”

That’s what the Giants were counting on at the start of training camp. Now, though, they’re left just hoping for it, hoping they get a chance to see if he can play.

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