Week 9 Injury Impact: EJ Manuel cleared to practice for Bills; Rudolph out up to six weeks
Here’s the latest on Sunday’s most prominent injuries.
EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills (knee): Manuel, who’s been out since Oct. 3, when he suffered a sprained LCL against the Cleveland Browns, has been cleared to practice, the Bills announced Monday.
“It’s feeling a lot better,” Manuel told the team’s official site. “Been working out on it the past week and had a good workout [Sunday] before the game. It felt really good. It was good to get out there in the cold too. to move around in that to see how it felt and reacted after, so it’s doing good.”
Bills head coach Doug Marrone has not yet said that Manuel will start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the team released backup quarterback Matt Flynn on Monday, signing fullback Evan Rodriguez to the empty roster spot. With Manuel out, the Bills went with quarterbacks Thad Lewis and Jeff Tuel, amassing a 1-3 record.
While recovering from his injury, Manuel spent gamedays in the coaches’ box and on the sideline. “I still took a lot away from it, the good and the bad,” he said. “From Thad’s success, from Jeff watching the game. Just trying to learn from everything.”
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (foot); According to Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Rudolph suffered a fractured foot in the Vikings’ 27-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He caught two passes for 35 yards and a touchdown in the game. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said Monday that Rudolph could miss as many as six weeks. John Carlson will replace Rudolph in Minnesota’s offense, which needs all the help it can get.
Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints (foot): Better news for New Orleans’ main tight end, who played in 60 of New Orleans’ 78 offensive snaps in Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets. Graham missed just one game with his foot injury, and his snap count was way up Sunday from the 20 snaps he played the previous week. Graham has scored four touchdowns in two weeks while getting back to full health, and he caught nine passes for 116 yards against New York’s iffy secondary. He was uncoverable no matter who the Jets put on him. A fully healthy Graham makes the Saints among the NFL’s most dangerous teams.
Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams (ankle): Six days after rushing for 134 yards on 26 carries against the Seattle Seahawks and rolling his ankle late in the game, Stacy came back against the Tennessee Titans and ran for 127 yards on 27 carries. That’s two stellar days against a couple of great defenses, and Stacy should be seen as a lead back going forward in an offense that has become run-heavy out of necessity.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (back): Foster was a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury against the Colts on Sunday night, and he left the game with a back issue after the first series. Foster’s injury was not specifically addressed after the game. Obviously, after head coach Gary Kubiak collapsed as he was headed toward the locker room, more pressing questions were asked.