Giants' Manning downplays chest injury, will play Sunday

Updated: October 15, 2008, 8:02 PM ET
Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Two days after bruising his chest on what he considered a questionable hit, Eli Manning practiced with the New York Giants on Wednesday and said he would play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

Eli Manning

Manning

"There is just a little soreness," Manning said after the rare late afternoon workout at Giants Stadium. "It didn't affect practice or throwing or keep me from doing anything I needed to do."

Manning was hurt in the second quarter of Monday night's 35-14 loss to Cleveland when he was driven into the ground by 350-pound tackle Shaun Rogers. No penalty was called, although Manning felt one was deserved.

"He is a big man and had a good hit," said Manning, who noted that the hit felt like 400 pounds falling on him. "I would not have minded a flag on the call. We didn't get it, so you go on."

That's what the Giants (4-1) will have to do after being embarrassed by the Browns in the nationally televised game in which Manning threw three interceptions, including one returned 94 yards for a touchdown by Eric Wright.

"The good thing about playing on Monday night is, if you do lose, you have a short week," Manning said. "You can't dwell on the game."

Manning said his mistakes were responsible for the picks, not his bruised chest.

"There is no injury," Manning said. "Part of football is you are going to get banged up, and get some soreness. Nothing is injured, nothing that would cause any reason to miss any time, any practice or be worried about playing in a game."

The Super Bowl MVP isn't worried about bouncing back this week. He had three of four interceptions returned for touchdowns in a horrible loss to the Minnesota Vikings last season and rebounded the following week to lead two late touchdown drives that gave New York a 21-16 win over the Chicago Bears on the road.

"That is just part of playing quarterback and playing football," Manning said. "From play to play and game to game you can't think about what just happened. Whether it's a good play or a bad play you just move on and think about the next play or the next game. Sometimes it is harder than just saying it, but over the years I have learned to do that and do it well."

The Giants have some other more serious injuries to worry about.

Center Shaun O'Hara was hospitalized for the second straight day with an infected toe and his status for Sunday is uncertain. Veteran Grey Ruegamer, who started the wild-card playoff win over Tampa Bay in January, would replace O'Hara if he could not play.

Weakside linebacker Gerris Wilkinson is going to miss some time with a sprained knee. Rookie Bryan Kehl has split time with Wilkinson, but coach Tom Coughlin would not say who will start.

"I think Shaun will be back," Manning said. "I saw him yesterday and I think he will be back and ready to play. I know he is itching to get back here to practice and be around the guys. I am hopeful he will be back, but if he doesn't, Grey will do fine. He has played in big games for us and played well."

Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, bothered by a quad injury, did not practice Wednesday. Chase Blackburn replaced Pierce for a time in the loss to the Browns.

David Tyree, who made 'The Catch' on the game-winning drive in the Super Bowl, practiced for the first time this season. He has been on the physically unable to perform list with a knee injury. The team has three weeks to decide whether to add him to the active roster, cut him or place him on injured reserve.

Tyree had a big smile on the field, adding he felt like he just finished a jail sentence.

"I don't want to say like it's graduation from college or nothing like that," Tyree said. "Just to be out among my teammates, not separated or isolated and being out there. I can't give myself too much credit. It was just a jog through, but being out there felt good."


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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