Eli Manning improving, will sit Saturday
The quarterback who has played 87 straight regular-season games has been ruled out for Saturday's preseason pairing with Pittsburgh. Head coach Tom Coughlin did not know when Manning will resume practicing with a helmet covering the 12 fresh stitches on his forehead.
"Eli will not play this week but I won't go any further than that," Coughlin said after practice. "There is a question as to whether what he can do with a hat on [in practice]. I am not going to rush things. If the doctors say it is OK for him to throw, then he will do some throwing. But he is definitely not going to put the helmet on."
Manning underwent a battery of tests at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Tuesday and took a concussion baseline test Wednesday morning. Coughlin said his quarterback passed the test.
Manning felt pretty fortunate to escape without serious harm after looking like a human crash test dummy when he collided with Brandon Jacobs on a busted play, then got pummeled from behind by Jets linebacker Calvin Pace and had his forehead hit safety Jim Leonhard's face mask.
"No headaches, no blurred vision, maybe the first night had a little headache from getting the stitches, but when I woke up the next morning I felt pretty good," Manning said. "No other injuries [from the Pace hit]. Neck feels fine. Feels pretty good. Could have been worse. It was more me kind of hitting Leonhard. He didn't come in and hit me. Could have been something to the nose or broken something."
Manning said the wound is higher than where the helmet padding usually rubs his forehead. He politely declined to show what it looks like, saying that there isn't much to see with it bandaged up.
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The Giants were forced to practice with just one quarterback -- third-stringer Rhett Bomar. Backup Jim Sorgi sat out practice with a sore shoulder and sore ribs after taking a shot from Jets linebacker Lance Laury on his second touchdown pass to Victor Cruz Monday against the Jets.
Coughlin did not know what Sorgi's status is for the Steelers game but he didn't think the backup's injury was a long-term issue.
"I don't think so but what do I know? I am not predicting anything," Coughlin said. "I am waiting to hear what the doctor says."
Manning is also waiting to see when he can get back to practicing. He hopes to at least throw some balls to receivers in one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills with a baseball hat on.
"That will be the deal, seeing when I can put a helmet back on," Manning said. "Anytime you have stitches, you got to be careful to make sure those things don't break. When it is preseason, you kind of have time to get things healed up and it is about being smart."
Manning was asked if the Pace hit was the biggest he has taken in his seven-year career.
"I always thought my first game ever versus Philadelphia would be the biggest hit I would ever take," Manning said. "Jerome McDougle gave me a good pop but this is right up there. Kind of a double whammy, and you get a little blood and stuff, it is always a good hit. Let's hope this will be the worst one."
Some of his teammates took time to poke good-hearted fun at Manning. Offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara, David Diehl and Rich Seubert showed up at the cafeteria for lunch all wearing handmade bandages taped to their foreheads.
"I wouldn't expect anything less," Manning cracked. "That first game in the new stadium, I'll have a special memory I'll always be able to look at."
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