- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A scarred Eli Manning is back on the field, feeling fine but uncertain when he is going to play again.

Just two days after needing 12 stitches to close a gash on the left side of head, the New York Giants quarterback stretched with teammates on Wednesday morning at training camp at the University at Albany. He did not participate in the afternoon practice.

“I physically feel fine,” Manning said after lunch. “I threw some balls today. I ran around, I know what is going on. I’m all there. It’s just a matter of getting the helmet on.”

The concern with the helmet is that if it’s jarred during play, it might cause the stitches to break or irritate the wound. Manning did not know when the stitches would be removed.

The Giants play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Manning’s injury wasn’t the Giants‘ only problem. Backup Jim Sorgi also took a big hit in Monday night’s preseason game against the Jets and sustained shoulder and rib injuries. His status also is uncertain, which might leave the team with Rhett Bomar as the team’s only healthy quarterback for now. Sorgi also didn’t practice Wednesday afternoon.

Manning said he had a headache the morning after the hit, one he associated with the stitches. The 29-year-old said his vision was fine and he admitted the injury could have been a lot worse had he broken a bone. He called the play a freak accident.

“When it is preseason, you have time to get things healed up. It’s time to be smart,” said Manning, adding that the medical staff and coach Tom Coughlin would decide whether he will play.

Manning wore a baseball cap and refused to show reporters his cut, which was opened early in the second quarter when his helmet was knocked off by a combination of two hits _ one by Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and another by Jets linebacker Calvin Pace. The force of the hits sent him facefirst into the helmet of Jets safety Jim Leonhard.

Manning lay on the field for a few seconds and then summoned the team’s athletic trainers after seeing blood gushing into his hand. He said he was not in pain at that point and knew he did not have a concussion. He was concerned because he could not see the extent of the cut.

“You get a little worried,” he said.

He said his wife, Abby, was at the game and came down to the locker room while he was being treated.

“She’s more concerned about the scar I’ll have than anything else,” Manning quipped.

Manning said he took an ImPACT test on Wednesday, a computerized evaluation of memory, brain processing and visual motor skills. He did not know the results, but he felt he did well on it.

Teammates were glad to see Manning walking around, and offensive linemen Shaun O’Hara, David Diehl and Rich Seubert arrived at lunch wearing huge bandages over the left sides of their heads.

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