Eli Manning understands what losing Victor Cruz for the season means to his offense, but the veteran quarterback didn’t realize just how serious his wide receiver’s calf injury had become until Monday.
“No, I did not think that was the case,” said Manning about Cruz’s injury. “It seemed like there was a deal that it would be a few weeks and come back --- just a calf strain, but I guess just kept reinjuring it and I just feel for him more than anything just because I know he wants to be out there playing and I know it has been frustrating to have this nagging him and now getting to this point.”
The Giants enter their bye in Week 11 and the season will go on without Cruz in the fold. Despite losing one of his top targets, Manning remained optimistic that the receivers remaining on the depth chart are capable of getting the job done.
“I know it is tough on him and he worked so hard to come back from the knee injury last year and was excited coming out and playing and was looking good in training camp and to have this nagging calf injury, so I know it has been tough on him, but I think our receivers have been doing some good things,” admitted Manning. “Dwayne [Harris] has been playing well in the slot, so we have to worry about the guys we have here and playing at a higher level to win games.”
Clearly, Manning will need to raise his level and rely on Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris and Myles White to follow his lead.
Following their bye week, the Giants travel take on the Washington Redskins in search of season sweep of their NFC East rivals. Before Manning embarks on the final six games of the year he intends to reach out to Cruz to support him and encourage his long road to recovery.
“Yeah I just heard [it through] word of mouth so I have not seen him today and talked to him, but I will definitely reach out to him. I know it has been a tough --- I know it is tough when guys want to be out there and coming off an injury, a serious injury that [requires] surgery and fighting back and doing everything he did in the offseason and then to have this little strain that keeps popping up and you try to do everything you can to get back out there and it is just unfortunate for him because I know he wants to be playing football.”
Cruz’s future with the Giants is very uncertain as his base salary is $7.9 million next season and will make a $8.125 million cap hit in 2016.