We found out on Monday that Victor Cruz is unlikely to practice with his New York Giants teammates until training camp. Coach Ben McAdoo said the Giants are taking "small steps" as they hope to guide Cruz back into action this season after missing the last year-and-a-half with leg injuries.
As luck would have it, Cruz is next on our list of players to profile as we meander our way through posts on each of the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp later this summer.
2015 Season in Review
Nothing to see here. You know this story. Cruz worked diligently to come back from his disturbing 2014 torn patellar tendon only to suffer a calf injury in training camp. That calf never healed properly and after a few false starts Cruz shut it down for good and opted for surgery to repair the calf. So, a wasted year.
2016 Season Outlook
Unknown. That one word really sums up everything we know about what Cruz could be expected to give the Giants in 2016. As we said on Monday, Cruz has always been optimistic whenever he has spoken about his recovery. Whether that be from the knee injury, the calf, both, or now because he has been away so long. He says "I definitely believe in my abilities and believe in my talent level."
At 29, though, after suffering two serious leg injuries and missing 26 straight games what are those abilities? What is that talent level? Truth is, no one -- not Cruz, not Ben McAdoo, not Jerry Reese -- no one knows what Cruz can still do?
Once he gets on the field for practice, whether that's before training camp, at the start of camp, or some time during camp, can he stay on the field? Can he stay healthy for a full 16-game schedule?
Cruz always relied on precise route-running, being able to be where Eli Manning needed him to be exactly when he needed to be there. He always relied on being able to make defenders miss once he caught the ball, creating plays with his quick feet.
Can he still plant and run those routes with confidence and precision? Will he be just a touch hesitant? A touch slower? Will he still be elusive after the catch? Or, will he be like former Giants wide receiver Steve Smith -- pretty much a catch and fall down guy?
What is reasonable to expect in terms of production? If you set the bar at 50 receptions for 2016 would you take the over or the under? Maybe that depends on whether or not you believe Cruz will still have enough to keep either Sterling Shepard or Dwayne Harris off the field in three-receiver sets.
Cruz is a complete wild card for the Giants in 2016. Will he turn up as a Joker or as an Ace?
There is no way to know. Until, of course, he gets on the field and we see what he has left.
Get your Cruz t-shirt
Support Cruz's comeback, and your hard-working editor, by purchasing a Cruz t-shirt from Breaking T.