Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said he believes he will make his season debut in Sunday's game against Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills despite the fact he has yet to practice in team drills.
"I’m convinced I’m playing Sunday," Cruz told reporters Monday. "Yeah, I feel good. I’m excited to be out there, excited to run some routes again today. The calf felt great, and glad Odell [Beckham Jr.] was with me out there today. It was fun, yeah."
Head coach Tom Coughlin did not give Cruz the official stamp of approval, though is hopeful Cruz could make his season debut this week.
"He worked on the side," Coughlin said. "Hopefully he’ll be able to practice (on Wednesday) ... If he practices and practices well, he’ll be a good lift for us. He’s in a good place now. He feels good. He felt good when he ran over the weekend. He has no issues whatsoever, he’s telling me. He’s anxious to get back out on the field and play, and we’re anxious to have him do that. You receive a setback from where he came, he’s anxious to go."
Wednesday is the day for Cruz. If he can practice with no issues, that will go a long way toward his return. He has not played since tearing his patellar tendon last October in Philadelphia. He has sat and watched the Giants' last 13 regular season games, chomping at the bit to return.
But it is not his knee that has held him back this summer. It is the calf on the other leg, widely believed to be a "compensation" injury incurred during his knee rehab.
If Cruz is cleared to play Sunday, he is not sure to what extent the coaches will allow him to play. He said no "pitch count" was discussed. Just the thought of coming back had Cruz a little emotional after missing nearly a year.
"Even driving in today, I was kind of like, ‘Man, I’m driving in and I’m actually going to be putting a helmet on.’ This is around the same time it all happened last year," Cruz said. "It was a little emotional. I can’t lie, there might be some emotions spread out there on the field Sunday as well."