Oct. 12, 2014, was a terrible day for Victor Cruz.
Oct. 12, 2015, could be a better one.
That's the day -- the one-year anniversary of the night he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee -- that he'll meet with doctors to assess the progress made from last week's platelet-rich plasma injection to help his calf injury heal. If he gets a green light from the medical staff during that meeting 11 days after the injection, he could make his season debut the following weekend.
That would be a prime-time game. In Philadelphia. In Week 6. The scene of the crime, so to speak.
The symmetry is almost too poetic to ignore.
"It has almost been a year and Philly is coming up around the corner as well," Cruz said on Thursday, his eyes opening wide. "The irony is definitely setting in. It'd be a good one to come back for, to say the least."
Cruz has not played since he was carted out of the end zone at Lincoln Financial Field one calendar year ago, although the last eight or so weeks have had more to do with his calf injury than his knee. He injured his left calf in mid-August, attempted to return to practice last week, and had the platelet-rich plasma injected in the calf on Oct. 1.
"It feels different, it feels stronger," Cruz said. "I don't feel that initial pain anymore. When I walked, I would feel it a little bit. I don't feel that anymore. Those are all good signs.
"In my mind, I want to sprint already, I want to do the treadmill, I want to do things. But they continue to keep me back until they give me 10 full days for the PRP to kind of set in."
That brings him to Monday. The anniversary.
But even that is murky. It's possible the doctors will allow him to get back on the field next week, but the 10-day waiting period between the injection and the meeting is really just a time frame to examine the effects of the injection, not when he and the Giants should expect results. As Cruz said, until Monday, he has been ordered to not put any extra stress on the calf.
"Just have to sit back and wait for it to work its magic a little bit," he said.
Cruz said he thinks he'll be able to rebound from this calf setback more quickly than he did from the original injury, and threw out some numbers to illustrate it. On a scale of 1-10, he said, with 10 being perfect health in the calf, he believed he was a 9.5 last week before he tried to practice on Wednesday and had to pull himself out of the workout. That, he said, set him back to "a seven-and-a-half, eight."
Not exactly square one. But not ready yet, either.
"I'm not far away," he said. "I can feel that it's not the same injury from when it happened eight weeks or so ago. I'm just trying to continue to be optimistic and listen to my body."
Officially, there is no timetable for Cruz's return. It could be against the Eagles in Philadelphia a week from Monday night, which would be a narrative almost too perfect to ignore. And Cruz has had a flair for the story line throughout his career.
It could be the following week against Dallas, which is the same week Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is eyeing for his return from a fracture in his foot.
Or it could be that Cruz continues to have setback after setback until the Giants eventually place him on injured reserve and his season is over.
He does not believe that will happen.
"I'm thoroughly convinced," he said, "that at some point throughout this year, I'll be on that field playing at a high level and making some plays to help my team win."