Eli Manning Practices and Is Expected to Play on Sunday

The New York Giants spent much of this week worrying about the status of quarterback Eli Manning, and it appears they’ve finally gotten good news.

Manning — who is having by far the best season of his career, with a stellar 104.1 quarterback rating through four games — left last Sunday’s contest against the Kansas City Chiefs with a painful injury to his right heel. There were concerns at first that it could be a serious ailment, but those were alleviated earlier in the week when the 28-year-old signal-caller was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.

The good news is that plantar fasciitis is essentially just inflamed tissue on the bottom of the foot, and it’s an injury that Manning can’t really aggravate. The bad news is that the pain associated with it is quite severe — a sharp, stinging sensation every time pressure is applied to the sole of the foot.

But after sitting out practice on Wednesday and Thursday and fueling speculation that backup David Carr would get the nod at quarterback in this week’s matchup against the Oakland Raiders, Manning returned to the field on Friday for a walk-through with the first-team offense against the scout team. The New York Daily News reported that Eli seemed fine dropping back and jogging on the foot, showing no noticeable limp.

That Manning took reps with the other starters is another sign that he will be ready to go come Sunday. Manning has played through pain in the past, most notably a shoulder sprain at the beginning of the 2007 season, and his toughness is another reason to believe he’ll be active.

If Manning’s injury were something that could grow worse from contact, the undefeated Giants might be inclined to hold him out of a game they are favored to win by two touchdowns, with the undefeated Saints on the docket next week. But the G-Men are likely to allow Eli to play through the relatively benign plantar fasciitis, as long as he can withstand the pain like he did in practice on Friday.

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