EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The good news out of New York Giants practice Monday was the return of star wide receiver Victor Cruz from his heel injury. But while Cruz is starting to look like a good bet for Sunday night's regular-season opener in Dallas, the status of some other key Giants remains in doubt.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had back surgery in June and didn't return to the practice field until last week, did some work in practice Monday as well. But neither he nor his coach are certain yet whether he'll be ready to go Sunday.
"He's got to practice," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "He's got to practice every day. He's got to put the uniform on. He's got to play in the pads. He's got to see how he feels the next day. His bursts were good today. Now, how many of them? I can't tell you that. But he did what I hoped he wouldn't do: There were no pads in practice, and he was coming in there like he had them on."
Pierre-Paul said he was feeling good, though he didn't know yet whether he'd make the trip to Dallas on Saturday for Sunday's game. The plan for his recovery and for increasing his practice workload appears to be based on his conditioning and how he feels the day after he practices. If his back is sore Tuesday after working Monday, he may not get to do much of anything Wednesday.
Fullback Henry Hynoski, who's recovering from a knee injury, was another guy who practiced maybe a little harder than Coughlin would like him to at this point.
"Henry's ... if there's a will, there's a way," Coughlin said. "This guy is all heart. As soon as they gave him the opportunity to get back out there, he was trying to jump in on every snap."
Monday's practice was a short one, so Wednesday's will be a better gauge for Hynoski as well as all of the injured Giants. It'd be a surprise if Hynoski were ready to go Sunday, but it's not out of the question.
"That determination will probably be made later in the week by the coaches and the doctors, I would think," Hynoski said. "I think I have to progress a little bit more for them to give me that go-ahead."
As for Cruz, he said his biggest concern was coming out of hard-breaking routes such as curls, but that his bruised heel felt good after the first one. He said he might try to get some practice in on the artificial turf of the Giants' indoor facility at some point this week in order to prepare for Sunday night's indoor opener.
Let's see. What else do we have? Coughlin said tight end Adrien Robinson was "going to be a while" with his sprained foot, though Robinson pointed out that he's out of his walking boot sooner than had been expected and said he was feeling good. He was walking with a limp, however, and the Giants did keep four tight ends in their final roster cuts, so we'll see. ... Coughlin seemed to doubt the four- to six-week recovery time frame that came out last week on injured running back Andre Brown, though he praised Brown's determination to come back sooner. Either Brown or injured offensive lineman David Diehl could be placed on injured reserve with a designation for return Tuesday if the Giants choose to use that designation. They don't have to, but if they do they can only use it on one player per year. That player would then have to miss at least six weeks of practice and at least eight weeks of games.