Victor Cruz has proved to be appealing after playing himself on the HBO series “Ballers.” He has also elicited rave reviews thus far at the Giants’ training camp.
Only 10 months after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right leg, Cruz has made a remarkable recovery from what was potentially a career-ending injury and is on track to once again be a primary target of quarterback Eli Manning.
“Everything is still going in the right direction,” he said this past week in meeting with the media. “I’m … making sure I’m progressing the way [team doctors and trainers] want me to, but as far as physically, there’s no restrictions on my end. Mentally, there are still certain routes that I’m still getting more comfortable with as I continue to do them within the offense, but from a restrictions standpoint … I’m pretty much good to go for the most part.”
Cruz sustained the injury Oct. 12, 2014, in the sixth game of the regular season versus the Philadelphia Eagles. For the 28-year-old Paterson, N.J., native, the fragility of a professional football career instantly became a harshly vivid reality.
But Cruz had grown accustomed to overcoming odds. Self-inflicted troubles nearly sabotaged his college career at the University of Massachusetts, but he matured and persevered, rising from an undrafted free agent in 2010 to a star, cultural icon—on the foundation of his touchdown salsa dance—and Super Bowl champion.
Now he is attempting to author another surreal chapter in his unlikely surge to prominence. Reaching his previous level of production may be far more daunting than the previous incarnations, as Cruz amassed 3,626 yards receiving and 23 touchdowns from the 2010 through 2013 seasons.
Yet Cruz doesn’t have to once again become a Pro Bowler to have a successful comeback. He simply needs to be a healthy, steady and reliable option for the Giants’ offense.