- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said on a Monday conference call that wide receiver Victor Cruz, who left Sunday's game with a heel contusion, likely would miss practice Tuesday. But Coughlin didn't rule out the possibility of Cruz practicing at some point this week or even playing in Saturday night's preseason game against the Jets. At this point, it appears the Giants have dodged major trouble with regard to Cruz's injury, though until he returns to the practice field it bears monitoring, of course.
Cruz sat out OTAs and minicamp due to a contract dispute (since resolved) with the team, so he and quarterback Eli Manning haven't had as much practice time together this offseason as they usually do. Cruz has been a full participant in training camp since it began in late July, but in general Manning doesn't like it when he and his receivers don't get to practice together. This is what he said to me earlier in camp regarding wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, whose practice time last season was curtailed due to various injuries and who also skipped the voluntary workouts in the spring:
"We really haven't practiced. Last year, he was limited a lot in practice, not getting a lot of reps during the season. We would have good games and bad games just depending on how he was feeling. So I think to get him back into practice just because it's been so long, and you're injured and you can get in some bad habits, and so just kind of work on those kinks, work on the timing, see what his speed is this year compared to last year now that he's healthy. You just gotta work on all of those things."
Manning is a detail-obsessed perfectionist, and one of the keys to the Giants' offense is the ability of the receivers to make the same pre-snap reads Manning makes -- something that requires tons of practice. So if Cruz did have to miss a significant amount of practice time, it's the kind of thing that could well show up as a problem down the road. To this point, it does not seem as though this will be the case. But this is a foot injury to a speedy wide receiver, and until Cruz proves it's not a problem, you can bet you should at least be keeping an eye on it.