August 21, 2013

NFL Notebook: Cruz status in question after injuring his heel

The Associated Press

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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