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Cruz: Thought of playing with Beckham motivates me

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Three months ago, Victor Cruz was universally viewed as the Giants' biggest star at wide receiver. Much has changed.

On Oct. 12, Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon in his knee that required surgery and months of rehab. In Cruz's absence, Odell Beckham has had most dominant rookie season by a wide receiver since Randy Moss burst on the scene with the Vikings.

So yes, Cruz will return to a Giants team that will be very different than the one he left on the field in Philadelphia. Some receivers would be threatened by sudden second banana status, but Cruz said he looks forward to the opportunity to play with Beckham.

"Watching Odell has been fun, it's been great," Cruz said in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. "That kid's a heck of an athlete, a heck of a ballplayer. Just seeing the things he's doing out there is motivating me to come back and be able to play next to him and do some really good things next year."

As for his recovery, Cruz said he is now 10 weeks out of surgery and has started working on the treadmill. He is not running yet, but has full range of motion and is "fully mobile."

Cruz said he's spoken and been encouraged by conversations with Giants cornerbacks Zack Bowman and Mike Harris, who both came back from similar knee injuries.

"They said it's tedious in terms of the rehab, but they were running again in six or seven months," Cruz said. "So hopefully I can beat that without rushing things. I want to make sure I'm 100 percent with no ailments, with no pain or anything like that when I'm running or when I'm doing all the things I need to do when I get back on the field."

Cruz is an easy guy to root for, and he seems to have the right outlook to recover from an injury of this severity. If he does come back as the same player, he and Beckham will enter the conversation of the NFL's top receiving tandems.

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