New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning had to like what he heard onTuesday.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz said his injured heel is feeling better and he thinks he will be able to play when the Giants open the regular season against the Cowboys on Sept. 8 in Dallas.
"Absolutely. I think that's definitely a target date for me," Cruz answered when asked when he thinks he will be ready to play. "I think I want to come out and get some regular practice in as well once the doctors let me and the training staff lets me do so; just taking it one day at a time.
Cruz was diagnosed with a heel contusion against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 18. He had been wearing a walking boot and was on crutches until Monday.
He won't play in the Giants' preseason finale on Thursday against New England. Instead, he is focusing on returning to the practice field on Monday and getting ready for the opener.
"In my mind, that's a date that I'm targeting. I'm going to work diligently this week while the team is away and focus on getting myself ready and ready to practice potentially by next week," Cruz said.
The heel still causes Cruz some discomfort, but mostly in the morning.
"There's swelling in the morning when I first put my foot down, that's about it. Other than that, once I get it going and get it warmed up, it seems to loosen up a little bit and feel better," Cruz said. "We still want to take it easy and take it one day at a time but it's starting to feel a lot better."
Without Cruz in the lineup, the Giants offense has been stagnant in the preseason. In three games, Manning and Company have generated only two touchdowns, and one was to Cruz in the first game against Pittsburgh.
While the offense clearly misses Cruz, the 26-year-old who has 19 touchdown receptions the past two seasons, says it is just a matter of time until the offense starts to click.
"We just need to get it going a little bit," he said. "I think our balance isn't there yet; our balance of running the ball and passing it. Slowly but surely we'll get that back.
"Days of practice and getting everybody back out there, I think that will help us. But I think we just need to build some fluidity within the offense," he added.