EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receiver Victor Cruz, who earlier this week announced his long anticipated return to the playing field was on schedule for this weekend's game against the Buffalo Bills, appeared to have a setback in his first practice in more than six weeks after initially suffering a calf strain.
Cruz, who has not appeared in a game since rupturing the patellar tendon on Oct. 12, 2014, in a 27-0 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, did not participate in Monday's walkthrough but had run routes on grass under the watchful eye of a trainer. His apparent setback occurred inside the Giants field house, which has artificial turf.
"Victor came out and tried to do individuals," head coach Tom Coughlin said in a team-issued statement. "He felt the calf again and that's all he did."
During the part of practice open to the media, Cruz, who is listed as limited on the Giants' injury report, did a few individual drills involving route running, including one in which he tried to burst out of his break upon catching the ball.
In doing so, teammate and fellow receiver Rueben Randle said it was apparent Cruz was missing that upfield burst, which is a big part of his game, and just didn't look right.
"We were running routes in individuals, and you could see when he tried to turn it up a little bit, he looked gimpy, holding it back a little bit," Randle said.
"We could see him limping a little bit once he tried to turn it up and run, and we could tell that he wasn't ready yet to play full speed. I'm pretty sure if we needed him to play, he could play, but we don't want him to hurt it more than it is."
Randle, who hadn't spoken to Cruz when he addressed the media, was asked if this setback takes any air out of the Giants' balloon moving forward.
"It's hard to say, but we don't have much time to dwell on it; we have to prepare ourselves for Sunday," Randle said. "Our focus is to try to win with whoever we have out there on the field. We're going to try to get with him once to see how he feels and just wish him the best."
Quarterback Eli Manning, who no doubt had been looking forward to having Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr. and Randle on the field for the first time since last year, also expressed sadness over Cruz's latest bump in the road.
Like Randle, Manning said the show must go on, with or without Cruz, who has not yet been declared out of Sunday's game by the Giants.
"We're just going about our business," Manning said. "We have guys who have been playing and practicing and we have a job to do."
Randle, who is coming off a seven-catch performance for 116 yards last week, said the receivers are ready to step up and carry on without Cruz, their leader.
"Yeah, we're kind of used to that by now. There's going to be a lot on our shoulders, but I think we'll all be prepared for it," Randle said.
"We worked pretty hard at practice, made a lot of plays, so we have confidence in Eli getting into the checks we'll need to during the game. Everything will be OK."