"I'm convinced I'm playing Sunday."
Those were the words of New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz following Monday's practice. Cruz still has not gone through a real NFL practice since injuring a calf muscle in mid-August. Monday, he ran on the side, executed a few pass routes with David Tyree acting as his quarterback (Tyree, incidentally, "doesn't have the best arm," according to Cruz) and believes he will be ready to go against the Buffalo Bills.
"I feel good. I'm excited to be out there, excited to run some routes again today. The calf felt great," Cruz said. "I ran a couple routes. I ran on the side with Byron (Hansen), I ran about 20 routes just to kind of get myself used to running routes again, get my body used to running them again, seeing how the calf felt running routes. It felt good, there were no setbacks, everything felt fluid. Only thing is David Tyree doesn't have the best arm, so that was a little bit of a struggle. But other than that, it was good."
Cruz had hoped to return from the torn patellar tendon he suffered Week 6 of last season before now, but the calf injury derailed those plans. That injury occurred October 12 of last year, meaning Sunday's October 4 game against the Bills will come almost a full year after his original injury.
Cruz admits to being emotional about that.
"Yeah, a little bit. 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. It was a little emotional. I can't lie, there might be some emotions spread out there on the field Sunday as well," Cruz said.
The wide receiver knows he willl still have to pass the Coughlin Test, meaning he will have to get through practices on Wednesday and Thursday, before he can suit up on Sunday.
"I think to him it's just going through a full practice, going through the individual drills, going through the seven-on-seven's, going through the team activities -- going through that and coming out unscathed and coming out without much pain or anything like that. I think that's the next step, I think that's what Coach is looking for, and so am I," Cruz said. "I'm excited to get back in the team setting. I know it's us, but it's still somewhat of a competition out there and you get to feel exactly how you match up from being down for a couple weeks."
Cruz said that few of his teammates and coach jokingly re-introduced themselves to him on Monday "as if I'm a new guy on the team."
It sounds like Cruz is almost certain to re-introduce himself to the NFL on Sunday.