- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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"It feels really good," Manning said on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN 1050 AM. "I was a little worried last night but no headache, no concussion of any sort. My body, my mind, my head all feels really good.
"All day I've been getting tests done and just making sure there is no further damage to my brain or to my skull and everything looks fine. That's all good news."
Manning said the only thing keeping him from returning to practice this week is whether he can put a helmet on since the wound is on his forehead. Head coach Tom Coughlin did not want to speculate on his franchise quarterback's status for Saturday's game against the Steelers.
"They haven't given me an exact time frame of when I will be back but I have a feeling I might be out there this upcoming week trying to get these stitches healed up and my forehead healed," Manning said. "I don't know when I will be able to put a helmet on. I might have to bring out an old leather helmet to get some practice in this week because I don't want to be sitting around doing nothing when I feel I can play."
Manning spent the team's off day at the Hospital for Special Surgery undergoing the series of tests after beating the Jets 31-16 Monday night. He was expected to travel to Albany on Tuesday night as the team resumes training camp.
Manning was pleased to escape the Jets game without any serious harm considering how he looked like a human Rock'em Sock'em Robot.
On a third-and-1 at the at the Jets' 5-yard line with 11:03 remaining in the second quarter, Manning audibled out of a running play but did not tell his running back, Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs came up the middle for the handoff and as Manning dropped back to throw a fade toward Ramses Barden, Jacobs collided with his quarterback, jarring the ball loose.
Manning's chin strap was pushed above his chin when he hit Jacobs' shoulder pad. That's why his helmet came flying off when linebacker Calvin Pace crushed him from behind, sending Manning toward Jets safety Jim Leonhard. Manning thinks his head hit Leonhard's face mask because he said there are bruises on the other side of his head in the shape of a face mask imprint.
Manning admitted he started to naturally panic a little bit when he saw blood spilling out of his forehead.
"I saw it gushing out and kind of put my hand on it and it was all over my hand and going all over the place," he said. "When you see that much blood, you do panic a little bit. I kind of knelt down for a second because I didn't know what was going on. But I felt I could stand up."
Manning said the play was his fault and he does not believe there was any "foul play" on Pace's clean but hard hit.
Once the bleeding was stopped, Manning felt he could play again if needed. The quarterback said if it had been the NFC Championship Game, he would have asked for clearance to go back in. Manning just wasn't sure how the medical staff would have put something in his helmet to keep the wound from reopening.
The quarterback didn't sound concerned at all about playing again. In fact, Manning joked about how he could play the role of a bad guy in a movie with the "cool scar" on his forehead.
Manning's biggest decision may be to figure out a new haircut.
"My part might not look the same," Manning said. "I had to shave a little part of my head. I have to deal with my hairdo for the next few weeks and decide what route to take. That will be one of the big decisions I've got to deal with in the next few weeks."