Veterans, and in particular starters, often don’t play in the fourth preseason game, but exceptions are made for injuries. And considering Victor Cruz has suited up just once since the 2014 season, or almost two calendar years, it’s not at all surprising the Giants might decide to give the Pro Bowl wide receiver one last look.
Sources tell Jordan Raanan for ESPN.com Cruz will indeed get into the game for the Giants on Thursday, although not extensively. A series or two, or approximately 8-10 snaps, is what’s being reported.
Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 6 of the 2014 season, returned for training camp the following year, then was sidelined by a calf injury that eventually required surgery. Last week was his first NFL game since health issues struck, and the 29-year-old posted one reception for 4 yards.
It makes sense to get Cruz into the flow of a game after so much time off, and also to get closer look at what he’s capable of after all of the injuries. Raanan also notes second-round draft pick Sterling Shepard will see action as well, news the rookie wideout was able to confirm.
While the goal here is just to get Cruz after a long layoff and the inexperienced Shepard more reps, the Giants still may be evaluating their secondary receivers. What they’re able to do in the finale on Thursday, even without quarterback Eli Manning in the lineup, may help set roles or playing time going forward.