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Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Victor Cruz in walking boot

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz is in a walking boot and is using crutches due to a bruised heel.

But the New York Giants wide receiver sees himself playing in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 8 after escaping serious damage to his left heel.

"Hopefully I can be back before then," said Cruz, who was upbeat Tuesday and didn't seem overly concerned about his injury. "But I do envision myself being on the practice field getting ready for that Cowboys game and getting ready to go down to Texas to play those guys.

Cruz
Victor Cruz examines results of an X-ray taken on his foot Sunday night. The Giants star receiver has been diagnosed with a bruised heel.

"The MRI just showed some blood in there in the area where the swelling is, and that was about it. No tear -- nothing wrong with the bone -- everything's fine, which is a good sign, which is what I was worried about."

The Giants have sent the results of Cruz's MRI to a specialist to confirm the team's preliminary diagnosis of a bruised heel, a league source told ESPN.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said it was a little disconcerting seeing his star receiver in a walking boot and on crutches. But he understands the injury might look worse than what it really is.

"Hopefully it is not going to be a long time," Coughlin said after practice Tuesday. "Who knows. He feels better from one day to the next. Now if you look at him, you say, 'Oh my God, he's got crutches and boot.' So they are doing all kinds of stuff to make sure he doesn't put any pressure on it. But he did a feel a little bit better today."

Cruz and center David Baas were both injured on the opening drive of Sunday's 20-12 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Baas, who also is on crutches, injured his left MCL and is considered week-to-week.

However, Baas said he believes it's realistic he can play against Dallas.

"I was frustrated the other day and I am over it," Baas said. "I know I can bounce back from this.

"I think (the opener) is (realistic), and that is what I expect to. I am going to follow the doctor's orders. It is kind of one of those annoying things I have to let heal."

The Giants unveiled their new offensive line without Baas in practice Tuesday. have options as far as who to start in place of Baas while he is out. Left guard Kevin Boothe slid over to center with right tackle David Diehl moving to left guard. The team is ready to see what first-round pick Justin Pugh can do at right tackle as the rookie worked with the first team in practice on Tuesday.

Cruz may miss a considerable amount of practice time in camp to let his heel improve. The Giants will move Rueben Randle up to pair with Hakeem Nicks on the first team in Cruz's absence. Jerrel Jernigan, Kevin Hardy, Louis Murphy and Ramses Barden all could see snaps as a third receiver.

Although he hopes he won't miss too much time, Cruz is very likely to miss this Saturday's preseason game against the New York Jets.

"I think it's an injury where it's predominantly the swelling that's the issue, and once the swelling goes down, I think I will be OK," Cruz said. "I just want to be smart and want to make sure I am 100 percent when I am out there and make sure that all the swelling is gone and kind of attack it early. I don't see it lingering or anything long term with it.

"I feel good. I feel better than yesterday, which is a good sign."

Cruz, who agreed to a six-year, $45.879 million contract before training camp, suffered the injury on a deep pass attempt from Eli Manning on the opening drive. Cruz got tangled up with a Colts defender on a play that resulted in pass interference on Indianapolis.

"I kind of -- on the way down, the defender's weight (was) on top of mine -- I kind of planted on one single foot," Cruz said. "I felt it go numb immediately. The good thing is it's just a heel bruise, so it's not too bad."

Even if Cruz misses a significant amount of practice before the season starts, the receiver is confident he will not lose much as far as timing and chemistry goes with Manning.

"At this point, it is all about getting better," Cruz said. "I have a firm understanding of the offense, and me and Eli have an understanding of how he likes to hit me. I'm not too concerned about it. Obviously I am a guy who loves to be out there. But just a short setback in a time when, you never want to have one, but if there's a time to have one, it's now."

ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder contributed to this report.