EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has no doubts that he will recover from a serious injury to his right knee and return to football next season.
Speaking to the media for the first time since tearing the patella tendon and undergoing surgery earlier this week, Cruz said that doctors have told him that his rehabilitation will last 4-to-8 months. The 27-year-old says his spirits are high.
Cruz said teammates Marcus Harris and Zack Bowman have had surgery on their patella tendons and they told him they came back “better than ever.”
Cruz says he has made a videotape for the Giants (3-3) to see on Oct. 18 in Dallas, a day before their must-win NFC East game with the Cowboys (5-1).
“I don’t have any doubt in my mind,” Cruz said Friday afternoon. “I don’t have any doubt that I will be back. I don’t have any doubt my rehab process will be successful or that I will be in tip-top shape and ready to go when the time is right.”
Since he has been injured, Cruz said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from family, friends and players throughout the NFL. He noted that Eagles coach Chip Kelly visited him in a Philadelphia hospital Oct. 13 before he was transferred to a New York City hospital.
Cruz did a lot of studying about patella tendon injuries after being hurt Sunday night. While he knows he can recover, he added the process can be tedious.
While teammates told him he might have landed a little awkwardly on the play before he was hurt, Cruz had no indication he was hurt before the play in the third quarter. He said he jumped to catch a fourth-down pass from Eli Manning and felt a pop.
“It just felt someone popped my knee,” Cruz said. “Not even knowing where the ball was I just went up and barely went up and I immediately grabbed my knee. I felt a pop which is something I never felt before. I knew something was wrong and I immediately went down and grabbed it.”
Cruz has not seen the videotape of his injury and he doubts he wants to view it. He said the pictures of the injury are disturbing enough for him.
Elected a captain this season, Cruz intends to stay near the team and continue to offer his support, either talking to individual teammates or helping out his fellow receivers in meetings. He has been text messaging with his fellow receivers since being hurt. Teammates have said they plan to play for Cruz on Oct. 19.
“It’s pretty humbling,” said the five-year veteran who entertains fans after touchdown catches with salsa dances. “It shows me what type of impact I have had. It feels good those guys are on my side.”
Cruz had 23 catches for 337 yards and a touchdown. His 14.7 yard average is the best on the team.
The popular Cruz said he plans attend a fundraiser in New York City to next week to benefit afterschool science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at two Boys and Girls Clubs in the Tri-state area.
He could have used the injury as an excuse not to attend but wants the children to see the importance of doing things when “even when you are down in the dumps.”
(TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer)