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Manuel Says He's Cleared To Practice

"Up to coach" if he plays this week
E.J. Manuel told media in Orchard Park Monday that he's cleared "for everything". It will be up to coach Doug Marrone if he plays this Sunday against the Steelers.

Manuel is ready for as many reps as he will be allowed in Wednesday's first practice for the Bills' next game in Pittsburgh. He is trying to get back early after a suffering a sprained knee against the Browns four weeks ago.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to practice," Manuel said. "Moving forward from there it's (Marrone's) decision. I'm going to continue to work hard and get back where I was."

"We have to make a good decision," Marrone said. "We have to get him out there  and see how he's doing from a football movement standpoint."

On October 16th, Marrone said Manuel would need to wait 4-6 weeks before even returning to practice. If Manuel is on the field Wednesday, he would return a full week ahead of even the most optimistic range in that scenario.

Manuel worked out before Sunday's loss to the Chiefs and said his knee is doing good. He thought it helped to move around in the cold. He's not feeling any discomfort. Whether or not he plays will be determined almost entirely by how he looks in practice.

"We have to sit down and see what's the mindset of the player, how does he feel about (playing), is he ready to go, does he have enough reps to be accountable for what we're asking him to do," Marrone said. "(The decision) really comes on us."

There is a concern that the time Manuel has already missed will stunt his growth as a rookie quarterback. He disagrees.

"I still took the mental reps. People will say that's a cliched thing, I took it to heart to try and make sure I got those reps that I would have got if I wasn't hurt," Manuel said. "To make sure I was prepared and a smarter player than I was before."

Manuel said will try to avoid further injury in the future by sliding or getting out of bounds before taking a hit. Manuel says it's the "Peyton Manning" rules. "If you don't have anything, just get down and protect the body."

When asked if he thinks it will give the Bills a lift to be back on the field, Manuel said "I hope so." 

Marrone also said Thad Lewis' ribs have healed enough that he should practice Wednesday and be available to play Sunday in Pittsburgh if necessary.

Also on the injury front, Robert Woods has an ankle injury and Marquise Goodwin hurt his hamstring. Both players will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
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