“I just don’t know,” Manning said. “Obviously, I’d like to be, but we just have to see kind of what the process is and see how quickly I can heal and what the trainers and everyone, how quickly they want to push me.”
On April 10, Manning underwent a debridement of the ankle, which was performed by foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. He sprained the ankle in the Giants’ season-ending victory over Washington on Dec. 29. Manning still had discomfort early in the spring and had a cortisone shot before working out at Duke University with Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, plus his brother Peyton and other members of the Denver Broncos, early this month.
That’s when the decision was made to aid the healing process through the arthroscopic procedure.
“The first couple weeks I (was) still getting over an injury, I just didn’t think it was healing correctly,” Manning said today. “I got some more MRIs, talked to Dr. Anderson in Charlotte for a good while, developed a plan to try to see what was the best scenario would be. We just felt that this is the safest bet, to go ahead and do the scope at this point, rather than waiting and seeing how it felt and going through OTAs and all of a sudden you get to June or July and you want to do the scope and then you might be missing some training camp. We just felt that this was the safest bet, to go ahead. It ended up being a smart idea. When he did the scope he saw that there were some things that needed to be cleaned out.”
Manning said the work at Duke – where David Cutcliffe, his coach at Ole Miss, is now the head coach – was productive, but his ankle clearly required attention.
“I did everything, was able to move around, but I had gotten a cortisone shot a few weeks prior (and) they think that was maybe blocking some of the discomfort that I had earlier,” Manning said. “We felt when that wore off that the pain would come back and I would be in the same boat that I was in earlier. I felt to go ahead and do the procedure now was the smartest thing.
“I think I’d be safe to say that I should be 100 percent by training camp. Again, I would hope so. I would think, for sure, that I would be ready for training camp.”
Manning was asked if Giants fans should be concerned about the uncertainty of his progress.
“I think that was kind of the reason for doing this at this time, to prevent any uncertainty,” he said. “For me and for the Giants organization, fans as well, it’s to go ahead and do this where it’ll give me plenty of time to heal and be 100 percent healthy for the season.”
Manning has started 151 consecutive regular-season games, the longest streak among all active players, regardless of position. He said the procedure on his ankle was the first surgery of his life. But even without the challenge of rehabilitating his ankle, this would have been one of the most significant offseasons of his career.
The Giants are coming off a 7-9 season. For the first time since his rookie season in 2004, Manning must learn a new offense. The Giants have a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo, who replaced the retired Kevin Gilbride.
“I think it is a little bit different than our past offense, some of the timings of the routes. I think the ball comes out quickly. I’m hoping that I can have success in this and become a better player.”
McAdoo spent the previous eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the last two as the quarterbacks coach. His star pupil was former MVP Aaron Rodgers.
“I think it (the Giants’ offense) will be similar to what they did in Green Bay,” Manning said. “That’s where Ben came from, so I think it will be pretty similar to that offense. I’ve never been in a West Coast offense, so I don’t know if this is exactly West Coast or a form of it or not anything at all like it. I think it probably has some tendencies to it in some of the protections and stuff, but I think every offense has its own style, its own uniqueness that makes it work.”
The issue Manning faces is he will not have an opportunity to work on the field for most of the spring, if not all of it. It’s possible he won’t take his first rep in McAdoo’s offense until training camp.
“I’ll try to get as many mental reps as possible, get a lot of talking with the teammates and players,” Manning said. “I just have to see how quickly I can get back and whether I can get some jog-thrus or just get as many mental reps as possible. I think right now my number one concern is getting back healthy, number two is learning the playbook. Luckily, it’s a little different. This is my second offense I’ve had to learn. I think it’s a little different than 10 years ago when I was a rookie in the NFL trying to learn a system. Now I have an understanding of the game of football better and in a lot of cases, it’s the same things just said a little differently. I’ll make sure I’m ready and I’ll have time to learn the offense and practice it and be on the same page with everybody.”
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