It was perhaps the most gruesome injury of the 2014 NFL season. While attempting to make a catch in the end zone against the Philadelphia Eagles last October, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee.
It was a freak injury. It was also a serious one. Cruz lay on the field, screaming in pain.
Almost five months later, Cruz is well on his way to recovery.
“It’s coming along well,” Cruz said during an in-studio appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I’m coming along greatly. Every day is a better day, so I’m just making sure I’m getting to it. I started running on this fancy little machine that kind of lets you run without using all your body weight. So I’ve started doing that. And slowly we’ll start decreasing body weight so I’m using more and more of my own weight.”
Cruz has a view of the Giants’ practice field during his runs.
“It kind of gives you that motivation that I’m running on here, but soon enough enough I’ll be out there,” Cruz said.
While the physical recovery is hard enough, there’s also the mental aspect to consider. Anyone can heal; not everyone can clear the mental hurdle of trusting your body again, especially at full speed against elite competition.
Cuz, however, said that won’t be an issue for him.
“I think mentally I’m in a good place right now,” he said. “Obviously early on, there’s times where you’re feeling your knee, how swollen it is, and you’re like, ‘Man, will I ever come back from this? Will the swelling (go down)?’ You just have questions in your mind. But I was all for it. I was all for the challenge. I’ve been through so much in my short life that this is small for me compared to the things that I’ve been through. So I just want to make sure I’m doing it the right way, not rushing anything, not trying to overdo it. God has a plan for me.”
Cruz added that the Giants’ front office and training staff have been very supportive during his rehab.
“They absolutely have my back, and the training staff definitely has my back,” he said. “They understand the process. They talked me through it. My trainers are very good. Almost every week they’re talking me through it about what they expect week-in and week-out, how far along I should be in the process. So I’m pretty much right on pace to be back for training camp.”
Cruz should form a formidable 1-2 punch with Odell Beckham Jr., who as a rookie had 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns – in just 12 games.
“He’s a great player,” Cruz said. “You knew he had some talent. It was just a matter of getting him out there on the field. I’m extremely happy for him. He had a tremendous, tremendous year. Hopefully next year we can be doing that together.”
Cruz was also asked about LeSean McCoy, who was traded to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso.
“It was surprising obviously,” Cruz said, “but in this league, nothing surprises me anymore. You never know what could happen. As you can see, guys get cut left and right. The guys that you think are staples on certain teams are being let go. So you just want to make sure that as an NFL athlete that your body is always ready to go whenever your number is called (and) another team picks you up.”