PITTSFORD – While his team took the practice field here at St. John Fisher College, rookie quarterback EJ Manuel was having a “minor procedure” performed on his left knee back in Buffalo.
Exactly how the Bills’ first-round draft pick was hurt Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings at Ralph Wilson Stadium remains a mystery.
“During the course of the game, obviously, we did not get anything communicated from him or anyone else as far as what might have occurred,” coach Doug Marrone said after this morning’s practice. “After the game was over, it was ‘I felt a little bump.’ Checked stability, it was good. And really that night, that’s all we were going on.
“The next day I think is the most important thing to focus on. There was a little bit of swelling, obviously then you get a concern. Our staff checked him out with an MRI, you know, saw something, went through a minor procedure.”
Marrone said he asked Manuel when the injury occurred, but the player wasn’t completely sure. Manuel thought it could have been on his sixth play, when he picked up 5 yards on a run and was tackled by Vikings safety Robert Blanton (the play was wiped out by a Buffalo penalty).
“I went back again and looked at it. I tried to see something, you know, and really it was hard to tell,” Marrone said. “He didn’t even know if that was the play that he was hurt on.”
Manuel had surgery at 8 a.m. It was performed by team doctors.
“I really view this procedure as minor. I don’t view it as something that, ‘hey, we’re not sure.’ This is a very, very minor procedure so I’m not really concerned about it,” Marrone said.
The Bills did not disclose the exact nature of the injury.
“I have the information of exactly what it is, but at this time, the consensus of what we’ve talked about was to just say that it’s been a minor surgery, so I just want to tell everyone the truth there,” Marrone said.
As the team announced Saturday, Manuel will miss the final two preseason games. Marrone said he would be classified as “day to day” after that, and that he could be back in time for the Sept. 8 season opener against the New England Patriots.
“He could,” the coach said. “There is a good chance of that.”
Whether Manuel would start that game, however, is very much in question. While he had seemed to take the lead in the competition with seventh-year veteran Kevin Kolb through the first two preseason games, that battle is now on the back burner for at least the next two weeks.
“There’s a lot of variables that will go into that,” Marrone said, when asked if the competition will resume when Manuel is healthy. “How Kevin’s doing, how’s he’s playing, how EJ comes back from the time off. There’s a lot of speculation on that. I think I’ll be able to answer that question once we get to the day-to-day and he’s out here practicing.”