Eli Manning returns to practice after 1-day bug

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Tough luck, Frisco fans. Eli Manning’s tummy is just fine.

The New York Giants quarterback was back at practice Thursday after missing part of the previous day’s workout with “a stomach bug.”

“I’m 100 percent,” Manning said after practicing for Sunday’s NFC title game against the 49ers in San Francisco. “I had a full practice today, did everything, took every rep. I feel good.”

Manning felt sick after waking up Wednesday. He “toughed it out” and attended team meetings and took part in the walk-through portions of practice before letting backup David Carr handle the live snaps.

“It wasn’t going well so I tried to be smart,” said Manning, who received intravenous fluids after leaving practice Wednesday. “It was fortunate it happened on a Wednesday and not later in the week.”

Manning texted coach Tom Coughlin late Wednesday evening and told him he was feeling better.

“When he got to work today, he had a nice breakfast and seemed to do fine,” Coughlin said. “He is not quite himself, but almost.”

There was almost no chance Manning would miss the game because of a stomach virus. After all, his streak of 128 straight starts, including playoffs, is tops in the NFL.

A shoulder injury in 2007 didn’t sideline him and a foot injury two years later couldn’t keep him off the field.

Manning took over as the active leader in consecutive quarterback starts at the beginning of the season when his brother, Peyton, was sidelined after neck surgery.

Manning downplayed his illness and the fuss it created. It marked the first time this season that he was listed on the team’s injury report.

“I didn’t watch too much TV so I didn’t see the attention it was getting,” he said. “You know, when you get into big games like this any little thing that pops up people make a big deal about. We can put it behind us now and focus on the game.”

Kevin Gilbride said that Manning took great offense when the offensive coordinator told him he looked pale before practice Thursday.

Manning shot back that’s the way he always looks in the winter.

“We did everything with him,” Gilbride said. “Maybe we slowed down a couple of the drills between our work sessions, where the defense is up and we normally do a lot of drills. We did a couple, not quite as many. For the most part. He participated in everything and did everything we normally do.”

For much of the season, Manning has carried the Giants. He threw for a career-best 4,933 yards. His 29 touchdown passes and 92.9 percent quarterback rating were the second highest in his eight NFL seasons. Six of the Giants‘ nine wins in the regular season came in games in which he engineered fourth-quarter drives.

Tackle David Diehl said there has been a little bug going around.

“We’re just glad he’s back out here, and ready to go,” Diehl said. “We’re not surprised. We’re sure he was sitting there breaking down film while resting and getting ready for today. We know that he is going to do everything he can to be prepared for this one.”

Manning took every snap for the Giants this season. He also has taken most of the snaps in practice, while Carr directs the scout team during the defensive portions of practice.

Carr said that Manning’s absence was not a big deal since he knows the offense as well as anyone on the team.

Mario Manningham, took it a step further, saying since there was nothing wrong with Manning’s hands or arm, everything was fine.

“I’m sure his wife took good care of him,” Diehl added.

Notes: RB Ahmad Bradshaw missed practice for the second straight day with a foot injury, which is not surprising. He has practiced only one day a week since returning in early December from the injury. … LB Mark Herzlich (ankle), DE Justin Tuck (shoulder), DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee) and CB Corey Webster (hamstring) were limited at practice. … Former 49ers great Jerry Rice referred to RB Brandon Jacobs as “soft” recently. Jacobs responded Thursday, saying he grew up a Niners fans and loved Rice. “If he feels that way, he feels that way,” Jacobs said. “I bet you he won’t tackle me.”

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