Many around the New York Giants predicted doom and gloom when word spread in April that two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning underwent a procedure called a "debridement" on his injured ankle. With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo on board, several writers lamented that Manning's best days were behind him. But Michael Eisen reported yesterday on Giants.com, the team's official website, that the veteran quarterback is back practicing with the squad in organized team activities (OTAs).
Manning has been a warrior for the New York Football Giants. The veteran quarterback has started 151 consecutive games for the team dating back to his rookie season of 2004, which is the third longest streak for a quarterback in NFL history. Manning's streak is also the longest active streak in the NFL for a signal caller, ahead of 2004 NFL draft classmate, San Diego's Philip Rivers (128 regular season games).
Manning suffered a high ankle sprain in the 2013 season finale against the Washington Redskins, and likely would have missed the following week, if there was a game. Big Blue's bad fortune of missing the NFL playoffs kept Manning's streak intact, although the veteran signal caller had to go through extensive rehabilitation. When rehab did not resolve his problem, Manning underwent his procedure, which was originally going to sideline him until training camp began.
In a statement released by the team, Manning said, “(My ankle) feels a lot better. That’s why we did the surgery, because there was some discomfort. In running and doing drills I would notice it at times where, at this point, I don’t notice it. I’m out there worried about football and not thinking one bit about my ankle. I know it definitely was the right decision to get this done and to knock it out where I won’t have any more issues that I’ll have to deal with later on in the season.”
The Giants are coming off two non-playoff seasons, and the team has made many changes in personnel, as well as on the coaching staff. Former Green Bay Packers assistant, Ben McAdoo, is the new offensive coordinator, so it was important for Manning to be involved in learning the new system as soon as possible.
While Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin was pleased with Manning's progress, he also expected a high compete level for his quarterback. The veteran coach articulated these views to Giants.com, "(Manning) is so far ahead. When we started out I didn’t think I would have him for anything (in OTAs). We’re about two or three days into the phase two (when the offense and defense worked separately) and he’s running around. I’m trying to slow him down but he feels good. I’m not surprised at all."
Even with Manning's health apparently off the table, the G-men still are concerned with the recoveries from injury to Chris Snee, Will Beatty, David Wilson, Stevie Brown and Jason Pierre-Paul. But Brown and Pierre-Paul appear to be back to normal after both sustained pre-season injuries last year.