When Victor Cruz walked past Justin Tuck on Thursday, the defensive end screamed “Don’t touch him!” For one day, those were the coach’s orders, too.

Cruz was forced to wear a red “non-contact” practice jersey on Thursday because of what he still describes as a “stiff neck”. It stems from a hit he took in the Giants’ game in Philadelphia on Oct. 27 and has been nagging the Giants’ star receiver ever since.

He said he expects to play this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and on a scale of 1-10 he said his readiness is “a cool 9 ½.” Still, as Tom Coughlin said, “it’s an unusual situation” which is why the Giants used the red jersey on a non-quarterback for the first time in many years.

“It’s just a matter of not wanting to kind of re-tweak it or re-injure it again, because it’s so easy to do that,” Cruz said. “Especially in practice the way I run my routes so aggressively in and out of the breaks. I don’t want to do something stupid to kind of re-injure it.”