Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Injury and Insult

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Injury and Insult

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA - Victor Cruz's remarkable story of NFL stardom began here at Lincoln Financial Field three seasons ago.

This is where the Paterson native caught his first career touchdown, dancing the salsa for the first time in celebration to honor his grandmother while capturing the imagination of a fan base for which he has become one of its beloved stars.

In the same stadium three years later, Cruz's season ended on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum Sunday night.

The Giants' wide receiver tore the patellar tendon in his right knee when he jumped awkwardly in an attempt to catch a fourth-down pass from Eli Manning in the third quarter of Sunday's 27-0 loss to the Eagles.

The pass went off the fingertips of Cruz, who grabbed his knee in midair and stayed down on the turf once he landed. He was surrounded by teammates and Eagles players as the Giants' medical staff tended to him in the far right corner of the end zone.

Cruz could not get up without assistance and was lifted onto a cart by trainers.

An extremely emotional Cruz covered his face with both hands as he departed the field and headed for the locker room. The Giants announced the extent of the injury soon after.

How big of a loss is Cruz?

"Incredible. Huge loss. It wasn't a good situation, wasn't a good scene," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

"It was tough to say anything,'' Manning said. "I just went over and patted him on his shoulder. Even if I did say anything, I don't think he would've heard me, he was in so much pain.''

Adding insult to injury, if this was indeed the statement game for which the Giants were hoping, consider the message sent a bad one.

Not only did the Giants (3-3) lose a game in which they planned on stamping their position as a contender in the NFC East, they looked terrible doing it and lost one of their captains, not to mention one of their top playmakers, in the process.

Now they'll have to regroup quickly for a trip to the division's other first-place team, Dallas, which sent a jolt through the NFL with its upset of Super Bowl XLVIII champion Seattle earlier Sunday.

"They punched us in the mouth,'' said Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara. …

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