Acknowledging that the team is "very concerned" about the sprained elbow suffered by Eli Manning on Saturday night, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Sunday that the starting quarterback will require further tests to settle on a definitive opinion about the extent of the injury.
Manning awakened Sunday with soreness and pain in the elbow, which was injured in the second quarter of Saturday's preseason game, when the New York quarterback was hit by Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers as he was about to throw a pass. Manning underwent an MRI on Sunday and, while Coughlin described the injury as a "sprain," he allowed that a full analysis will not be available until Monday, when team physician Dr. Russell Warren examines the elbow.
"I'm very concerned," said Coughlin, who spoke to team trainer Ronnie Barnes, but not Manning, about the injury. "Any time you have a quarterback who has soreness in his elbow, there is concern about the injury. It's not like he just woke up and was out there throwing, and you were getting reports that there was nothing to it."
The injury occurred when Peppers slapped the ball away from Manning, recovered the fumble, and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Manning remained in the game and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Amani Toomer. But on the touchdown pass, it appeared that Manning slightly underthrew the open Toomer, and afterwards he complained on the sideline about the soreness in his elbow.
Manning later said that it felt as if he was "throwing air" and said his elbow felt "funny."
Coughlin said that he hoped the fact Manning was able to throw the touchdown pass to Toomer, even after the Peppers play, was a positive sign. But he also conceded that, until Dr. Warren makes a full analysis of the injury, everything is mere speculation.
Asked if he might be forced to give Manning a week or two off, Coughlin said he could not yet make such a judgment.
"I'm not going to project anything like that," he said. "I have no idea. I'm just hoping for the best, [but] I'm going to wait for the experts to tell me."
Coughlin allowed that protection for Manning, even by a markedly upgraded Giants offensive line, has been a concern. He also acknowledged that the injury could amplify the importance of signing an experienced backup quarterback. The current backups are Tim Hasselbeck, Jesse Palmer and Jared Lorenzen.
Hasselbeck is 15-for-30 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in two preseason
Palmer was 2-for-3 for 20 yards and an interception in the
Giants' 17-14 loss to Cleveland on Aug. 13 and did not play against
The Giants have been exploring the possibility of adding a more veteran quarterback to the depth chart and met late last week with former Cleveland Browns starter Tim Couch, who continues to rehabilitate from February shoulder surgery. Coughlin did say that he was "very impressed" with Hasselbeck's performance on Saturday night.
But he also said that the injury to Manning, even if deemed benign, "certainly does" point out the importance of having an experienced No. 2 quarterback.
Said Coughlin: "This is something that we never really want to discuss. You continue to want me to speculate [about Manning]. But I'm not speculating about anything. I'm just hoping for the best [and] waiting for what the doctors have to say."
In addition to the Manning injury, the Giants lost starting cornerback Will Peterson to a sprained medial collateral ligament, Coughlin confirmed. It is not yet known how long Peterson will miss.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report. To check out Len's chat archive, click here.