imagesGiants’ leading wide receiver Victor Cruz, who left Sunday’s preseason game with what was reported to be a heel contusion, isn’t likely to play before opening day, and even that may be a push. Cruz – who was in a walking boot and using crutches at today’s press conference – expressed optimism about his return for the opener against Dallas. Evidently coach Tom Coughlin only committed to the fact that Cruz would miss practice today and that he was unsure when the player would return to the practice field.

A contusion is a traumatic injury that is caused by forceful impact. The deep bruising affecting bone or muscle generally takes four to six weeks to resolve (depending on degree), though may require more time if the condition occurs along with other issues like ligament sprains. Cruz will evidently undergo additional tests, likely to focus on ruling out the presence of a small fracture that may have evaded diagnosis with initial testing.

With a little less than three weeks until the Giants open their season, look for Cruz to still experience discomfort when they do, even if he rehabs and rests until then. Given the nature of the player and the game, he may very well play regardless. Should that be the case, and if significant symptoms persist, recovery will be prolonged and the wide receiver will be at greater risk for additional issues such as a stress reaction or stress fracture. That was the scenario played out when Derek Jeter suffered a fracture after returning to the lineup before his ankle contusion had healed.

Running, certainly a substantial requirement for a wide receiver, loads the joints of the lower extremity with significant forces, far greater than those produced with walking. Should Cruz alter his running mechanics to minimize impact at the heel, he may stress other areas of the foot and onward up the chain, thereby also risking injury to other areas.

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Abby serves as the Injury Expert for CBS New York where, since 2010, her Injury Breakdown Blog examines injuries in professional sports. She also blogs on health & fitness as well as sports injuries for Huffington Post, and Recovery Physical, where her blog earned a top ten mention for physical therapy blogs in 2012 @ In a ranking of the Top 30 Healthcare Blogs for 2012, Top Masters in Healthcare also rated Abby’s blog in the top three in Physical Therapy! Abby is the founder of Fit-Screen and she welcomes your comments and questions!