Niagara Gazette

Sports

August 18, 2013

E.J. Manuel out for the preseason

Niagara Gazette — ORCHARD PARK — The Bills quarterback competition — and their expectations in getting off to a fresh start — are suddenly on indefinite hold with rookie quarterback EJ Manuel to miss the rest of the preseason after hurting his left knee.

In a statement released by the team Saturday, coach Doug Marrone said the first-round draft pick would have a “minor knee procedure.”

The announcement came during the team’s day off, and following a 20-16 victory over Minnesota.

It’s unclear when or how Manuel was hurt. And there had been no indication the rookie first-round draft pick had been bothered by an injury following the game.

He took over to start the second half and opened with a 14-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith. He finished 10 of 12 for 92 yards in three series.

“EJ Manuel had some swelling in his left knee this morning and was examined by our medical staff,” Marrone said. “An MRI revealed that he will need to have a minor knee procedure and that has been scheduled. He will miss the remainder of the preseason and then be re-evaluated at that time.”

The injury is a potentially significant setback for a player regarded the future of the franchise, and the only quarterback selected in the first round in April. He was chosen 16th overall out of Florida State.

Manuel is regarded the center-piece of an offseason offensive overhaul under Marrone. The rookie head coach has been in the process of introducing an up-tempo offense with an emphasis on speed.

At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Manuel is a strong-armed quarterback, who has also has mobility.

The injury comes just as Manuel appeared to have taken the edge in an offseason-long quarterback competition with free-agent veteran addition Kevin Kolb.

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