Wide Receiver Victor Cruz
November 5, 2015
Q: Do you finally see some light at the end of the tunnel?
A: A little bit. Started running today, even if it was just a light jog picking up some speed. It was good to be out there and good to feel like an athlete that can run again.
Q: Do you think youíll be back this season realistically?
A: Absolutely. I truly feel that way. I think it just takes more days of preparation, understanding how my body feels moving forward, and how the calf feels as we begin to progress in these upcoming weeks.
Q: Forget the physical aspect, with all the frustration, do you feel youíre being tested mentally?
A: Yeah, I think God is testing me to see just how much I can take, just how much Iím willing to put this game on the line for my own sake and see how much I can deal with, and see how much I can handle mentally. Iím just being calm, being reserved, and coming through with that challenge and tying to tackle everything as they come.
Q: Do you think the game after the bye, is that reasonable?
A: Weíll see, thatís all up to the doctors and how they feel and how they look at things. So weíll see how it goes.
Q: Have they given you a regimen? Now that youíre running and we watched you run, whatís the next step?
A: To continue running. To continue picking up the speed and continue to do more straight line stuff then obviously begin to cut and all those different things. So weíre just going to take it one day at a time.
Q: At this point the calf is healed?
A: Yes. The calf feels good and itís all about how it feels running and going full speed because I havenít tested it in that regard yet. But as of right now, it feels good, thereís no adverse pain, thereís nothing after today. Everything feels great.
Q: Is today the first day youíve run?
A: Todayís the first day Iíve run on it, yeah. Itís been a while of going back and forth and taking MRIís and seeing how it is and how it looks and how itís progressing. So today was the first day.
Q: Obviously you know what happened the last time you tried to test it. Are you at all leery of what might happen when you finally push this a little bit?
A: I canít be. Iíve got to just go out there and push it and see how I feel and feel good about it and build my confidence when it comes to those things. Just taking it one day at a time and seeing how it goes.
Q: Did it seem like the PRP helped at all?
A: It did. It felt like it helped a lot, but a lot of that comes with having to not be on it and sit down and not do a lot on it, which was painful for me because I like to move around, I like to be active. But I do feel like it worked, I do feel like it made a difference and it kind of expedited the process a little bit.
Q: The MRIís, are they clean now?
A: The MRIís are clean, the MRIís look good. Itís just a matter of how I feel and a matter of how it feels as we begin to pick up the speed and pick up the tempo and see how the calf continues to hold up.
Q: A few weeks ago Eli was on the radio and was asked when he could expect you back. His first answer was probably after the bye. He said he didnít really know for sure. Given where you are now and the bye is only a couple weeks away, is that the most likely thing? Kind of wait until the bye week at this point?
A: I hope so. Itís just a matter of continuing to pick it up day in and day out. But if I had to pick a time, it would be any week in terms of that regard. But if I had to pick a time, and after the bye obviously looks like a promising date, but obviously the doctors havenít told me that, no one said that to me. Weíre just, like I said, taking it one day at a time.
Q: When you come back, would it be a slow process from there or when you come back, do you feel like youíll be 100 percent ready to go?
A: I donít want to come back unless Iím 100 percent. You know I donít want to go out there 75, 80, or 90, I want to go out there and feel like Iíll be the same person, the same athlete that I was the last time I was on the field. So thatís what my goal is, thatís what Iím shooting for and weíll see what happens.
Q: In hindsight, were you maybe not 100 percent when you tried to come back?
A: It felt good. Obviously youíre never really, no one in this league is really ever at 100 percent. But it felt good, it felt good to run on it and to cut and things like that. Unfortunately, it kind of gave way again at that point in time. This time it feels stronger, it feels like I can go a little bit more than I did a couple weeks ago and weíll see how it goes.
Q: How conscious are you that the clock is ticking?
A: Every day. Iíd be wrong to sit here and tell you that Iíve got plenty of time because itís week nine in the season and I missed a good chunk of time already. So I just want to get out there and be 100 percent and play. I just want to play this game again and help my team win and help my team get over the hump and be a voice of this team, not only in the locker room or on the practice field, but in the games, and be out there with them. Lord knows I miss it with every ounce of my body, but I know I canít be out there until Iím 100 percent.
Q: How do you make up for the practice time, the football conditioning? Obviously you want to get out there as quick as possible, but you canít simulate that practice, so what do you do?
A: Yeah, you just have to continue to do the things that you can do like running outside and running on your own and doing things myself inside of here to kind of get myself in game shape. I know itís not easy, I know with limited reps in practice itís not easy. I just have to do things on my own time, in the training room, out there on the field, whenever I can, to build that up again. I know itís going to take a game or two to get my bearings again.
Q: You know the reality of the NFL, you obviously got a big contract and big cap number. Do you ever look and worry if you donít get back and show something this year, there are cap casualty possibilities?
A: I canít think about it like that. I just think about itógood thing, I donít play this game for the money. I donít think about the money aspect, I just think about myself and playing and getting back healthy, thatís the only thing I can control, I canít control anything else. So I got out here and play and everything else will take care of itself.
Q: This team is in first place and got there without a lot of their best playersóyou, Beatty, JPP, a lot of other guys. Do you feel like if you guys come back, you could really make a big push towards the playoffs?
A: I do. I think anytime you get your key guys back or guys that youíve been missing for some weeks now, when you get those guys back at the right time and all of us gel at the right time, the sky is the limit. I think if weíre able to do thatóeveryone gets back at the right time where we make a final push from now towards the end of the season going into the playoffsóGod willing, it will be fun to watch.
Q: Was there ever a time where possibly just shutting it down for the year was ever discussed?
A: No. In short, no.
Q: How tough has it been for you? Youíve always been a positive person, and honestly you seem a little beaten down. Do you feel it?
A: Just emotionally more than physically. Physically, I can handle it. Emotionally, you kind of have your heart set on getting back. I go through these emotions where I feel good, the knee is responding well in the training camp, Iím feeling good, Iím making some plays, then I have the calf. Then you get back from the calf, you feel like itís good again, and you go out there and run, then it happens again. So just kind of going up and down emotionally has been a little bit of a roller coaster for me this year. I have gotten to the point where I just need to relax, settle down, and really listen to my body, really listen to what itís saying, and really take my time with it. Iím not doing this organization a disservice of going out there and not being 100 percent and Iím not doing myself a disservice by going out there and potentially reinjuring something.
Q: How tough is it to sit on the side and watch a game like you did on Sunday?
A: Itís tough, man. Any game, all these games, all eight games that we played so far have been tough to watch, wins and losses, mainly because you want to be out there, you want to be with the team. You want to be out there cheering them on day in and day out, week in and week out, and the fact that Iím not able to do that has been tough.
Q: Was there something looking back on training camp, you were going so hard and so well. Was there something that happened or when you look back and say, ďI should have avoided this drill or that movement?Ē
A: No, thereís nothing going back because you feel good and you want to do everything. You want to be a part of every drill, you want to continue to get better because you missed so much time, so you want these reps, you want these drills, you want them so you can continue to get back into form. So there wasnít anything that I wished that I didnít do or wish I did do or anything like that.
Q: Whatís it like having JPP back around?
A: Itís great, man. Heís one of lone guys left in my class coming in, so itís good to see him back. Itís good to see him in a uniform practicing, being upbeat, being his normal self. Iím happy to have him back, man, itís a breath of fresh air.
Q: How much do the false starts of these last couple of months kind of make you bite your tongue even when you have some hope?
A: A little bit because you just want to make sure everything is good. You donít want to give any dates out there or any timetable out there for yourself. You just want to be able to take it one day at a time, listen to your body, and not pressure yourself into a date or pressure yourself into a timetable that you donít know or that youíre unaware of. So I want to just take it one day at a time and listen to my body. Every day running is a good day and see where that takes me.