“The situation with EJ is this; after I talked to you guys Monday there was swelling on the knee,” said Marrone. “We were not able to get that swelling to respond with the treatments the way we wanted. We went out there today, I think you saw, you saw him where he’s able to throw the ball in the pocket, but the stability in that knee with the swelling, he does not have the escapability or the ability to run after the fake or zone read or those type of things that we feel is important for us to win.
“Going into today I still wanted to give it a shot and see how it felt,” Manuel said. “And just how I was looking it didn’t look like I’d be able to protect myself moving laterally and things like that. I didn’t get a chance to play the Dolphins the first go round and I wanted to play them the second time, but coach made the right decision. It’s for the team to help us win.”
Manuel sustained the knee injury at some point in last Sunday’s win at Jacksonville, but finished the game. The injury was not deemed serious by head coach Doug Marrone, who admitted he was unaware of it until he learned Manuel was receiving postgame treatment in the training room Monday morning.
The rookie signal caller was very frustrated by what will be his third knee injury this season to cost him time on the field.
“Tell me about it,” said an exasperated Manuel. “When it happened in the game I just kind of said to myself, ‘Is this really happening again?’ I just taped it up and kept playing, but the onset after something like that happens it’s going to get stiff and sore on you. It’s a part of (the game), but nonetheless I’ll get a chance to play against New England and finish the season strong.”
The rookie quarterback has already missed four games spanning October and November after sustaining a sprained LCL in Buffalo’s Week 5 game at Cleveland. That sprain was in Manuel’s right knee and he has worn a knee brace on that leg since returning to action in Week 10 (Nov. 10th).
With Manuel sidelined backup Thad Lewis will start in his place for the fourth time this season on Sunday. Lewis made three starts in Manuel’s absence posting a 1-2 record, before suffering a rib injury in Week 8. He was then replaced in the lineup in Week 9 by Jeff Tuel for Buffalo’s home game against Kansas City.
Manuel then returned in Week 10 at Pittsburgh and has started the past five games. He was coming off one of his more encouraging performances of the season. Though he threw for just 193 yards he completed 71 percent of his passes and had a pair of touchdown throws, including the eventual game-winner in the fourth quarter. He also ran for a touchdown in Buffalo’s 23-16 win last weekend.
Lewis was the Bills’ starting quarterback in the first meeting with the Dolphins in Miami. He was 21-32 passing for 202 yards with an interception in Buffalo’s 23-21 victory.