ALBANY, N.Y. — Eli Manning is going to sit out the New York Giants’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night.
Coach Tom Coughlin announced the decision after a scarred Manning did not practice on Wednesday at training camp at the University at Albany because of stitches in his forehead.
While Manning insisted he is feeling fine after needing 12 stitches on Monday night to close a cut on the left side of his head, Coughlin said the team is concerned that wearing a helmet might break the stitches or irritate the wound.
Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi also didn’t practice because of shoulder and rib injuries, and Coughlin was not sure whether he would play in the Giants’ first home game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Rhett Bomar took all the snaps on Wednesday.
“I am not going to rush things,” said Coughlin, who said he has never conducted a training camp practice with one quarterback. “If the doctors say it’s OK for him to throw, then maybe he’ll do some throwing. But, he definitely is not going to put the helmet on.”
Manning was to be examined after practice by team surgeon Russell Warren, but the results would not affect the decision to sit to the 29-year-old, who wore a baseball cap at practice. Coughlin did not know when Manning would be back.
Sorgi is a wait-and-see proposition, mostly because of a sore shoulder that resulted from a hit he took on a fourth-quarter touchdown pass against the Jets on Monday night.
“He is sore and could not have thrown today,” Coughlin said.
Earlier in the day, Manning sounded like someone who knew he was not going to play.
“I physically feel fine,” Manning said after lunch. “I threw some balls today. I ran around, I know what is going on. I’m all there. It’s just a matter of getting the helmet on.”
The Giants could put extra padding in the helmet, but it seems an unnecessary risk for a preseason game.
Manning did not know when the stitches would be removed. He also said he was lucky that his injury was not more serious. He noted that being hit by Jets safety Jim Leonhard with his helmet off could have easily broken his nose or another bone.
“When it is preseason, you have time to get things healed up. It’s time to be smart,” Manning said.
Manning refused to show reporters his cut, but he took his cap off on the field and it revealed a sterile pad covering the stitches.
The cut was opened early in the second quarter when his helmet was knocked off by a combination of two hits — one by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and another by Jets linebacker Calvin Pace. The force of the hits sent him face-first into the helmet of Leonhard.
Manning lay on the field for a few seconds and then summoned the team’s athletic trainers after seeing blood gushing into his hand. He said he was not in pain at that point and knew he did not have a concussion. He was concerned because he could not see the extent of the cut.
“You get a little worried,” he said.
He said his wife, Abby, was at the game and came down to the locker room while he was being treated.
“She’s more concerned about the scar I’ll have than anything else,” Manning quipped.
Manning said he took an ImPACT test on Wednesday, a computerized evaluation of memory, brain processing and visual motor skills. Coughlin said the results were normal.
Teammates were glad to see Manning walking around, and offensive linemen Shaun O’Hara, David Diehl and Rich Seubert arrived at lunch wearing huge bandages over the left sides of their heads.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Manning said, shaking his head.
He later got back at O’Hara, saying that while he did not pass out after being cut, O’Hara did when he looked at it.
“I saw the look in his eyes and said this must be pretty bad, it’s not a little scratch,” Manning said.
Sorgi was crunched on his 34-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz, one of three the free agent from the University of Massachusetts caught in the 31-16 win.
“I’m a little sore,” Sorgi said Wednesday. “I took a couple of good shots. We’ll see how it goes, ice down and get some treatment and be ready to go.”
Sorgi laughed about comparing his injury to Manning.
“He got 12 stitches. I didn’t get stitches. I’ll say I caught the good end of that,” Sorgi said.
Tom Canavan/The Associated Press