The New York Giants breathed a collective sigh of relief on Monday morning after team orthopedist Dr. Russell Warren diagnosed the injury to quarterback Eli Manning's right elbow as a sprain.
Manning, in his first full season as the starter, will not play in Friday's preseason game against the New York Jets, and coach Tom Coughlin termed his status "week to week."
"He has a sprain and a bruise to the inside of his elbow," Coughlin said, in relaying the results of Warren's examination.
"It feels about the same as it did the other night and
yesterday," Manning said Monday. "Just some soreness in there,
but it's mostly in the muscle so that's a good sign. I'm going to
take it week to week and see how it feels."
Manning said he will not throw this week and will see how the
elbow feels next week before attempting to resume practicing.
"When you're playing, you don't feel it," he said. "After it
happened I was on the sideline and I threw some balls and I knew I
could still throw. I wanted to finish the half, and we had a chance
for a two-minute drive so I wanted to get in there and throw the
On Sunday, Coughlin acknowledged the Giants were "very concerned" about the injury, sustained in the second quarter of Saturday's preseason game against Carolina. Manning underwent an MRI exam on Sunday, but Warren was unavailable to check out the elbow and Coughlin said further tests would be required to determine the extent of the injury.
How much practice time Manning will miss, and the status of his availability for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener remain undetermined. Journeyman Tim Hasselbeck, signed by the Giants in the offseason following his release by the Washington Redskins, is expected to operate the No. 1 offense until Manning returns.
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.
"I'm very concerned," said Coughlin on Sunday. "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 41-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 made a full analysis of the injury, everything was mere speculation.
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 Hasselbeck, Jesse Palmer and Jared Lorenzen.
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.