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Giants Injury Report: Cruz Suffers Setback, Won’t Play vs. Bills

The Giants are looking to even up their record at 2-2 with a win over the Bills on Sunday, but they will have to do so without WR Victor Cruz.

Big Blue is used to playing without Cruz, as the slot receiver has missed the first three games of the season, as well all four preseason matchups. But it was widely expected Cruz would make his long-awaited return against Buffalo.

Cruz returned to the practice field on Wednesday in limited fashion, but left early after feeling some pain in his injured calf. Later, Tom Coughlin announced Cruz will not play on Sunday.

(Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

His absence means the Giants will employ a similar strategy as they did last week against Washington. Odell Beckham saw some action in the slot during that game, and Dwayne Harris saw more snaps on offense.

Coughlin also suggested RB Shane Vereen could line up at receiver in Cruz’s absence. With 16 targets through three games, Vereen is tied with TE Larry Donnell for second on the team in targets, behind Beckham.

While a signing doesn’t appear to be imminent, veteran free agent slot receiver Wes Welker was in for a workout earlier this week. Coughlin praised his quickness afterwards. Welker could be an option if Cruz continues to sit.

DE Robert Ayers (hamstring) will miss his second straight game, and DT Markus Kuhn (knee) his third straight. With both starters out last week, DE Cullen Jenkins moved inside to DT alongside Johnathan Hankins. George Selvie and Kerry Wynn started at DE last week, and could again on Sunday.

The Giants will also be without third-string TE Jerome Cunningham (knee) for a second straight week. With backup Daniel Fells (ankle) questionable, starter Donnell is the only healthy tight end on the active roster right now. If Fells doesn’t play, practice squad TE Will Tye may get a brief call-up.

Also questionable is LT Ereck Flowers (ankle). The Giants will hope their first-round rookie makes his return on Sunday, but if not they’ll probably roll with the same offensive line we saw against Washington. That unit consisted of LT Justin Pugh, LG John Jerry, C Weston Richburg, RG Geoff Schwartz and RT Marshall Newhouse.

RB Orleans Darkwa (knee) and DE Owa Odighizuwa (foot) are listed as probable. Both will have minimal roles against Buffalo.

While Cruz won’t return Sunday, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion) will. Jayron Hosley, who started in DRC’s place opposite Prince Amukamara against Washingotn, will revert to his usual role as slot corner.

As for the Bills, they are banged up offensively. RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring), WR Sammy Watkins (calf) and starting RG John Miller (groin) have all been ruled out. Starting S Aaron Williams (neck) will miss Week 4, too.

With McCoy and Watkins both out, the Giants will have to focus on defending the duo of QB Tyrod Taylor and WR Percy Harvin.

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