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New York Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz is out for the remainder of the season with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee.
In the middle of the third quarter, the Giants took a gamble on fourth down by running a fade route to Cruz in the back corner of the end zone. Cruz managed to get open and right when the ball was headed to him, he landed awkwardly on his leg and dropped the pass. Cruz fell to the ground in pain and was carted off the field with his hands on his face sobbing. The faces of Cruz’s teammates showed the severity of the injury as they looked with a sense of uneasiness when he was carted of the field.
Dr. David Chao has said that, “He can return to 100%, but it (his knee) is a car in a car accident; it will never brand new when it has been fixed”.
Cruz has had the tendon operated on by the Giants team physician, Dr. Russell Warren on Monday night.
New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin said, “Victor is a very, very positive and popular young man who has meant a lot to this franchise, He’s got a tough road ahead of him. He’s been challenged his whole life, and I don’t see him backing down from any challenge whatsoever.”
Cruz, 27, is quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite – and most reliable – target in the Giants’ receiving corp. Manning will have to look for new targets from a young receiving core consisting of Rueben Randle, Preston Parker, and first round pick, Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants, who lost Hakeem Nicks the offseason and Jerrel Jernigan to injured reserve, are going to have to heavily depend on these young players to step up and give Manning the receivers he needs to be successful.
Randle has been a target for Manning longer than any of the other receivers listed above, and should become the main target for the Giants new offense. Randle and Manning have trust which will be used as an advantage of prior chemistry in a world without Victor Cruz.
Parker is in his first year wearing blue with the Giants and has been a solid presence inside their huddle. He has hauled in 11 catches for 158 yards so far this season. He has fumbled this year and the Giants are aware of it, as they have addressed that it was a problem and that they were working on it. Parker has shown that he is a very versatile player, but he needs to prove he can hold onto the ball.
Odell Beckham Jr. has shown so far that he is a very talented player and can be trusted by the Giants. The first round draft pick out of LSU has tallied 72 yards and a touchdown in his first two games in the NFL. Beckham missed the first four weeks of the season with a hamstring injury.
Manning also has the emerging threat of Larry Donnell to help him in the red zone and be an extra blocker for the run game. Donnell showed his dominance in week four with seven catches for 54 yards and three touchdowns.
These four have shown that they are talented and can be able to fill the role that Cruz had before his season-ending injury. As for Cruz’s patellar injury, he will not be able to return this season and this injury can change the way he plays forever. He may not be as explosive and have the same speed as the Victor Cruz we have all seen bursting through secondaries.
The Giants seem optimistic that their star receiver will return next year and will hope he can return to his elite form. Cruz’s future is up in the air, and time will eventually tell how he recovers from this severe injury.