The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback is “very likely” to start Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles with rookie Daniel Jones dealing with a “moderate high ankle sprain,” coach Pat Shurmur said Wednesday.
“Obviously we’ll see what happens Monday,” Manning said after taking the first-team snaps at practice. “But business as usual in a sense get the game plan, start prepping for Philly. Going against a good defense, but also a defense we faced a number of years. Know ’em well. Just get back into the mix with the offensive line and receivers. Make sure the timing is where it needs to be.”
Jones, who played through the injury during Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, was in a boot and didn’t practice Wednesday.
Jones injured the ankle during a quarterback sneak on fourth down during the second quarter. He was seen wincing on the ground after a Packers player fell on his leg. He had the ankle checked and taped on the sideline before returning to the game, and he claimed to be “fine” on Monday before being sent for an MRI as the discomfort persisted.
Shurmur compared Jones’ injury to the high ankle sprain that sidelined Saquon Barkley for three games over four weeks, though less severe.
The Giants (2-10) have four games remaining, and Jones, who played through a high ankle sprain last season at Duke, likes his chances to return.
“I think they’re good,” Jones said. “Every day since, I’ve been feeling better. I think it should heal up pretty quickly.”
The rookie said he thought he would be practicing as soon as Wednesday.
“It was pretty disappointing, especially after thinking I was going to be able to play,” Jones said. “You know, I understand it and hopefully it would heal up pretty quick.”
Jones, who supplanted Manning as the Giants’ starter after two games, has thrown 18 touchdown passes with 11 interceptions and 10 lost fumbles this season. This could’ve been the week that the first-round pick finally had all his top weapons available, as there is a realistic chance that tight end Evan Engram (foot) and Golden Tate (concussion) will return on Monday night.
Manning returns to the lineup with the Giants on an eight-game losing streak. It will be his first start since mid-September after being the team’s starter for the better part of 15 seasons.
Manning, whose last victory as a starter came exactly one year to the date of Monday’s game, completed 63% of his passes this season with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
After spending the past 12 weeks in an unfamiliar position as the backup, Manning said the hardest part for him was simply not playing in games.
“Missed being part of the action and practicing and all that,” said Manning, who worked almost primarily as the scout team quarterback. “But felt good to be out there today and throw it around and compete a little bit.”
Manning, 38, is in the final year of his contract. His future with the Giants and the NFL is up in the air for the first time since being the No. 1 overall selection in the 2004 draft. But he wasn’t ready to say whether he intends for these final four games to be the last of his career or if he wants to play elsewhere if his time with the Giants is indeed over.
“Just take it one week at a time. You never want to make decisions about the future while you’re living in the present and don’t know the circumstance of what can happen,” Manning said. “Just have to go out there and try to get a win for the Giants if I’m asked to do that. I’ll analyze everything else after the season.”