Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Victor Cruz may have to wait a little longer to play in a game for the New York Giants.
The wide receiver, who missed all of last season with a calf injury and has been limited to six regular-season games in the last two years, is looking iffy for the Giants' preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins after sustaining a groin injury in practice Tuesday.
Coach Ben McAdoo was taking a wait-and-see approach when asked whether the seventh-year receiver who was once one of the NFL's biggest playmakers would play on Friday night at MetLife Stadium.
Cruz also was uncertain, saying it usually takes a couple of days to get the tightness out. However, he was certain this was not a case of 'here we go again' with the injuries.
"I think I know the difference of something that is really bothering me and will take a long time and something that is just normal football training camp soreness, things that just come about as training camp goes on," Cruz said. "I'm not having those doubts or those feelings in my mind right now."
His intention for now is to listen to his body and act on that.
"I went through one of my biggest workloads the last week and came back the next day and practiced and everything felt good," Cruz said. "No pain, no ailments or anything like that, so my body has been good and responding well to the wear and tear of camp, so I'm excited about that. I just want to keep putting things forward."
McAdoo has been smart handling Cruz. He started him at camp with a full workload and has occasionally backed off the load when necessary.
The Giants are hoping Cruz can return and be somewhat of his old self, giving quarterback Eli Manning another option to go along with Odell Beckham Jr., and second-round draft pick Sterling Shepard.
In his prime from 2011-13, Cruz had 241 catches for 3,626 yards and 23 touchdowns.
There have been times in training camp when he has run a route or made a play in 7-on-7 drills and he felt close to himself again. He also has once more felt the sting of being a player: mammoth defensive tackle Damon 'Snacks' Harrison caught him off-guard and hit him during a drill, knocking him to the ground last week.
Cruz was down for a few seconds and got up after realizing he was "OK."
It was football again, which is what he wanted.
"Just to be the player I once was," the 29-year-old said Cruz said of his expectations. "I don't want to be out here feeling less of myself or feeling anywhere below of how I feel I should be out here. The only expectation is for me to come out here, feel like myself, be in and out of my breaks, run proper routes, be at the proper depths of what I need to do from an assignment perspective and let everything else take care of itself."
When asked if that was achievable, Cruz did not hesitate.
"Absolutely," he said.
NOTES: LB Keenan Robinson (groin) and S Nat Berhe (hamstring) did not practice Tuesday. S Landon Collins was kicked in the leg and returned. ...McAdoo said playing time in the preseason game will be planned on Thursday, adding there might be in-game adjustments. ...Free agent LB Ishaq Williams intercepted a tipped pass.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.