The Giants enter their bye week fresh off a gut-wrenching loss to the New England Patriots that saw the defending champions snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. To make matters worse, Victor Cruz announced on Monday that he will undergo season-ending calf surgery. General manager Jerry Reese met with the media to discuss the state of the team and what the road to recovery will look like for his prized wide receiver.
“Yeah, who knows?,” said Reese of a timetable for Cruz's return. “When you’re gone for a couple of years like that, you just can’t jump back in and play, I don’t think. I think you have to build your way back up and get your feet under you and get your confidence back and have the quarterback get his confidence back and get that chemistry back. I don’t think it’s an easy road back, but I know how hard he works and how hard he worked in getting back from the patella injury. We’ll see where that goes, but again, right now our focus is solely on these last six games. It’s a six-game season for us, and we’re going to try and win every one of them.”
The Giants sit atop the anemic NFC East at a record of 5-5, but they’ll be without Cruz until at least the start of the 2016 season. New York’s personnel director admits that had his front office staff known the severity of Cruz’s calf injury from the get-go, that they would have likely freed up a roster spot and placed him on injured reserve.
“Yeah, well, hindsight in 20-20,” offered Reese. “We thought coming off the big patella injury that he had that he was going to be ready to go. And then all of a sudden, he gets the calf, which has become more bizarre for me—it’s the Year of the Calf for us, I guess. Every time we’ve gotten him out there, we babied him through, babied him through, babied him through, then we start to do some things with him and he just can’t do it. Even after the first time we thought he was ready, we thought about putting him on the reserve/return. Our doctors said, “That’s too far.” They said it was too far, so we kept him on the 53 instead of putting him on it. And now if we had known, obviously, we would have gotten a roster player. But that happens sometimes. Remember a couple years ago, the receiver for the Seahawks, I think he only played one game and that was the Super Bowl—Percy Harvin, I think I’m correct by that. He only played one game and he was an X-factor in the game, I thought.”
Unfortunately for Cruz his season is over and some are suggesting that his time with the Giants could be too.
Cruz still has three years remaining on his contract and is due $24 million on the current deal that he signed before the 2013 season. Cruz was awarded a five-year, $43 million contract with $15 million fully guaranteed to provide him with assurance that he would be the cornerstone of the franchise for years to come.
Now coming off knee surgery and calf surgery in back-to-back years, Cruz’s longevity and durability have been brought into serious question. With speculation growing that the Giants could part ways with the star wideout receiver this offseason, Reese refused to address Cruz’s contract situation and future with the team beyond this year.
"I’m not going to talk about that right now, that will take care of itself when the time comes," said Reese. "Right now we’ll just try to focus on the last six games. That’s a long way off."