Thomas puts knee to test vs. Cruz

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Terrell Thomas says he won't need a preseason game to know that his surgically repaired ACL is ready for the season.

The cornerback, who is attempting a third comeback from ACL surgery, said he will know in practice when he's ready and back to full strength. Considering that the coaches put Thomas on Victor Cruz in practice for a few snaps on Tuesday, Thomas is right. After all, who better to test your knee again than the shifty Cruz in the slot?

"They wanted to see what I can do," Thomas said. "Victor's a Pro Bowl-caliber player, a great Giant, and great competition for me to go against and get work and get better. We love the competition. I made a couple plays on him and vice-versa. We talked about it in the locker room, gassed each other up a little bit. But it's fun."

Thomas called Tuesday's practice a "big day for me." He said he was able to make cuts without any hesitation on the turf indoors. The team has slowly been building his workload in practice this week. Trying to defend against Cruz in the slot is an arduous task for a Pro Bowl cornerback let alone one who is coming off three ACL surgeries.

"The slot's a lot harder," Thomas said of covering the slot as opposed to being on the outside. "Because in our offense, Victor has the option to do whatever he wants. He can run in or out, and I have to be able to anticipate that and cover him and play my leverage. It's definitely a lot harder in that respect.

"On the outside, you're more on an island, but it's more of a controlled island," he continued. "I think that's why they put me on the inside, want to see what I can do. And at the same time, you're a little more protected with having outside leverage, inside leverage, zone principles, run protection, stuff like that."

Thomas is not sure if he will make his preseason debut on Sunday against the Colts. He just came off the PUP list early last week after a hamstring injury slowed him down at the start of camp. But if he continues to progress, Thomas will provide the Giants with an added veteran piece in the secondary.

"I'm still just building blocks and just trying to knock 'em down," he said. "Taking big steps every day."

"Each and every day, I feel myself getting a lot more confident, and playing and not thinking," he later added. "I have made the cuts ... Each and every day, I come back from practice, and my knee's not swelling up, it's not hurting me. And that's the biggest thing."