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EJ Manuel "Most definitely" wants to play Sunday

Posted Sep 1, 2013

The Bills quarterback talks about getting back on the practice field for the first time since injuring his knee in the preseason game against the Vikings.

QB EJ Manuel
September 1, 2013

Q: How did it feel to at least be out there and participate in some of practice?

A: Yeah, it felt great to be out there with my teammates and get back in the mode of practicing and things like that instead of doing rehab.

Q: How confident are you that you will be able to get in there by Sunday?

A: Well each day my injury has gotten better and like I said, I have been two or three treatments a day. That has been helping me a lot. Chris Fischetti has done a great job helping me get back on the field. I have been progressing every day.

Q: It did not look like you were favoring your knee. How natural does it feel and are you still thinking about it?

A: When you play and if you are going to play you cannot think of any kind of injuries that you have whether it is something you got a procedure on or it is a sprain finger—anything like that. You just have to go out there and play.

Q: You are not feeling it that much?

A: Not really.

Q: Was that knee brace new?

A: Yeah, that is new. Obviously having a different type of equipment that you usually do not wear—it is different. After a while you just get used to it.

Q: Are you surprised that you are back this soon?

A: I am not really surprised. Like I said, I try to work hard at everything. I can control whatever I can control and I’ve been controlling trying to get my knee better. That is what I have done.

Q: Did you know right away that something was wrong when you got hit?

A: Yeah. I knew something was going on after that play and the MRI just showed what was going on.

Q: You played through it though, right?

A: Yeah, I think we had three or four more series. However many series we played. It was very early when I got in. I just continued to play on and play football.

Q: Do you regret that decision looking back or do you feel that you could keep going?

A: I definitely felt like I could continue to play. Obviously a lot of adrenaline helps with that. When I kind of had a chance to slow down and sit down, that is when it got kind of stiff and things like that.

Q: In general, how anxious are you to be able to be out there for the season opener?

A: Well I definitely just want to be back to help the team. I am a huge team player and just want to be back. Obviously if I am healthy enough to go out there and make plays, Coach Marrone makes the decision, I would be more than happy to go out there and play.

Q: Has the training staff had to slow you down in terms of your rehab? Have you wanted to do more?

A: Yeah they have. I understand that part of it. That is what they do. That is why they are here. I trust all their judgment.

Q: Whose call will it be when you get to Sunday on if you will play?

A: I am not sure yet. We will probably see when we get there.

Q: How would you describe the procedure that they did? And it was just two weeks ago?

A: It was just basically…well I think Coach Marrone handles all those injury questions. So I will let him answer that.

Q: Is that the first time something has happened to your knee?

A: It is. First time anything has happened to my knee.

Q: Are you feeling any pressure to start and be out there on Sunday?

A: I am not feeling any pressure. So I would not say it is pressure, I want to play. Go out there and be a part of the team, the first game of the season. That is how I feel.

Q: How caught up do you feel just taking part in the meetings and things like that? Do you feel mentally all there?

A: Definitely. Right on schedule as far as the mental part. When I was not at practice, I just went in mentally watching the practice film and then watching the game film on New England and things like that. And Carolina—depending on when I was going to come back.

Q: Does it make it harder having to think about your knee while you prepare for your first NFL game against New England?

A: I would not say it makes it more difficult. Just prepare like you’re not hurt and prepare like you are going to play.

Q: In college whenever you might have been dealing with injuries, were there a certain amount of practice that you felt like you needed to be ready to play?

A: Well in college we always practiced through injuries. If you could walk, you went out there and practiced. If you were expected to play on Saturday, you should go out and practice. If you did not practice, Jimbo (Fisher) was not going to play you. That is how we handled it and that added to a lot of the toughness when it comes to playing with it when I actually hurt it. It is just part of being a football player.

Q: How has the last week been between you and Jeff Tuel?

A: We both are still learning. I think we both have a good grasp on the offense. We both had a lot of reps during the summer camp and things like that. Whoever is going to go out there and play, coach is going to make the decision. He will choose the guy that is going to help us win.

Q: How comforting is it to already be out here practicing?

A: It is very reassuring. I just want to see how it reacts tomorrow as far as the soreness or anything like that. Which I don’t think I will have any soreness because I did not have any after I was running around and threw the other day. I am just looking forward to moving on tomorrow and getting more reps in practice.

Q: If it was your call to play on Sunday would you play?

A: Most definitely.