WATCHING rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. running past and around opponents is fueling Victor Cruz's comeback from knee surgery.

Cruz says that his rehabilitation from patella tendon surgery more than 2 months ago is progressing and that he hopes to start running soon.

The dynamic Giants wideout known for his salsa-dancing after touchdowns can bend his right knee, has full range of motion and is doing calf raises, leg raises, knee extensions and all the fun stuff that comes along with rehab.

The real fun has been watching Beckham and thinking about them being a dynamic one-two combination for quarterback Eli Manning in 2015.

"He's been great," Cruz said Wednesday. "That kid is a heck of an athlete, heck of a ballplayer. Just seeing the things that he's doing out there is motivating me to come back and be able to play next to him and do some really good things next year."

Beckham has become the catalyst of the offense since Cruz was injured on Oct. 12 against the Eagles. After missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury, the 12th pick overall in the draft has 79 catches for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdown catches - all team rookie records.

This is the second straight season that Cruz did not finish the season because of a knee injury. He played in 14 games last season and only six this year, finishing with 23 catches for 337 yards and one touchdown.

Even tougher was watching the Giants (6-9) struggle through a seven-game losing streak that started in the game in which he was hurt.

"It's been tough being out, obviously, during that span of those games that we lost because you feel helpless, like you want to do something but you can't," Cruz said. "But watching Odell has been fun."

Cruz, a former free agent who like Beckham developed a huge fan following with his play, has told the rookie to stay grounded, keep the same inner circle that he has always had and turn away the new people trying to horn in.

"He's a good kid and he's really learning on the fly, which is good," Cruz said.

Cruz does not have a timetable for getting back on the field. When the trainers tell him to play, he'll play. Patience is his new friend.

The 28-year-old has spoken to many people about coming back from his injury.

"There's no doubt in my mind that I'll return to form and I'll return to the type of player that I was in years past and I'm excited to put myself through this," Cruz said. "I've overcome a lot of obstacles and I feel like this is just another one that's come across that I have to conquer it and move forward."


* Arizona coach Bruce Arians has changed his mind and decided to start Ryan Lindley at quarterback Sunday in the regular-season finale at San Francisco, according to media reports. Arians had said that rookie Logan Thomas would get his first NFL start but apparently didn't like what he saw in practice. Lindley started last week against Seattle and had a tough day filling in for Drew Stanton, who was filling in for Carson Palmer.