When New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz left the practice field with groin tightness Tuesday, he didn't get the benefit of dismissing it as a minor injury typical of receivers in training camp.
"I think I know the difference of something that is really bothering me and will take a long time and something that is just normal football training-camp soreness, things that just come about as training camp goes on," Cruz said, via The New York Post. "I'm not having those doubts or those feelings in my mind right now."
Cruz added that he's "sure" the issue could "cloud" his return to the field this preseason. Coach Ben McAdoo said it was too early to rule Cruz out for the team's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins on Friday.
This is Cruz's curse. Amid his comeback from a torn patellar tendon in 2014 and a serious calf issue in 2015, his ancillary ailments will be placed under the most powerful microscope. During my visit to Giants camp last week, I noted that the wideout was busting his hump but looked like he had a ways to go. Some of the routes he ran natural and almost breezy a year ago were far more arduous. Was that the product of said groin issue like Cruz is suggesting? Or should we be viewing his lower body like a car that is sustaining one ding or flat tire at a time?
Counting out Cruz at this point is a fool's errand. The former undrafted receiver out of UMass has already beaten NFL odds once before and still has the same hunger and drive. The Giants believed in Cruz enough to keep him on a reduced contract and Cruz is asking everyone else to have the same faith.
Of course, at this point it's hard to imagine the player who caught 80-plus catches in a season and put up more than 1,500 yards walking out on that practice field again.