EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants are giving wide receiver Victor Cruz’s bruised left heel a little extra medical attention.
The team’s leading receiver the past two seasons, Cruz walked to a podium Tuesday using crutches and with his foot in a boot. It raised some immediate concerns about the severity of his injury.
“Why does everyone look so sad?” Cruz quipped after looking at reporters.
The reality is the Giants are just being cautious with the regular-season opener at Dallas less than three weeks away. Cruz did not practice on Tuesday, and it seems unlikely that he will be a target for Eli Manning in the annual bragging rights preseason game at the Jets on Saturday night. He might not even play in the preseason finale against New England on Aug. 29 if Tom Coughlin wants to be very careful.
“It’s all about just getting better at this point,” said Cruz, who recently signed a $43 million contract extension. “I think I have a firm understanding of the offense, and me and Eli have an understanding of how he likes to hit me and things we do out there on the field. So I’m not too concerned about it. Obviously I’m a guy that loves to practice, loves to be out there. Just a short setback. And a time where — you never want to have one — but if there’s a time to have one, it’s now. So it’s not bad.”
Cruz bruised the heel Sunday night trying to catch a long pass from Manning on the opening series. It was a jump ball type of play, and one of the defenders came down on his foot. It immediately went numb.
The Giants have told him his status is day to day, but it looked more week to week with crutches and a boot.
The 26-year-old hopes to shed the crutches soon. He is being treated with ice and medication to reduce the swelling. He added he doesn’t think the injury will linger all season.
• New York shuffled its offensive line on Tuesday in the wake of a knee injury to center David Baas, and first-round draft pick Justin Pugh is now a starter, taking over at right tackle.
Left guard Kevin Boothe was moved to center to replace Baas and the versatile David Diehl shifted from right tackle to left guard.
Pugh made his NFL debut on Sunday night in a preseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts and played well, coach Tom Coughlin said.
BRONCOS: Linebacker Von Miller will serve a six-game suspension under the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, a violation the linebacker said did not result from a positive test.
The league wanted a longer penalty for the third-year linebacker, but the sides agreed to less than half the season, a person familiar with the negotiations between the linebacker and the NFL told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday because details about the negotiations were not public.
Miller’s suspension will begin Aug. 30, the day after Denver’s final preseason game. He is eligible to return for Denver’s seventh game, Oct. 20 at the Indianapolis Colts.
BROWNS: Brandon Weeden had a lot to prove. Before his second NFL season began, he had to convince some teammates, a new coaching staff and front office and many skeptical Cleveland fans he deserved to start.
He desperately wanted to be their quarterback, the guy.
On Tuesday, Weeden’s efforts were rewarded.
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski named Weeden his starter, an announcement that erased any uncertainty — and there wasn’t much — that the second-year QB would be behind center for the Sept. 8 season opener against Miami. Weeden has spent the past few months doing everything he possibly could to win the job, and he did — fair and square.
“Brandon has earned this,” Chudzinski said, “and that’s extremely important to me that he did. He has gained my complete trust. He has gained his teammates’ complete trust and this organization’s trust. We’re all behind him and we’ll all be behind him to support him.”
EAGLES: First-year coach Chip Kelly named veteran Michael Vick Philadelphia’s starting quarterback.
Vick has been solid in two preseason games, and backup Nick Foles, in his second season with the Eagles, has struggled to grasp Kelly’s multifaceted offense. Vick has thrown for 199 yards this preseason and will take a 113.2 quarterback rating into Friday’s game at Jacksonville.
There wasn’t a lot of suspense with Kelly’s decision, which was announced after practice on Tuesday. Foles has been sacked six times in two games, and has a quarterback rating of 65.5, after showing flashes as a rookie last season while Vick was injured.
FALCONS: While conceding he’s “a little rusty,” tight end Tony Gonzalez says he’ll be ready for the start of his final NFL season.
Gonzalez has missed most of the preseason with the Falcons, part of an arrangement with team officials when he decided to put off retirement for another year. The 37-year-old rejoined the team this past weekend and will be playing his first exhibition game Saturday night when Atlanta visits Tennessee.
Gonzalez said Tuesday he’s been working out with a high school team in California while away from the Falcons, and he kept up with what Matt Ryan and the rest of the offense were doing on his iPad.