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Third knee injury knocks EJ Manuel from lineup; Thad Lewis to start

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For the third time in four months, Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has been sidelined with a knee injury.

Bills coach Doug Marrone announced this afternoon Manuel won't play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Backup quarterback Thad Lewis will start. Jeff Tuel will be the backup.

Marrone also announced receiver Stevie Johnson, mourning the unexpected death of his 48-year-old mother, isn't expected to play Sunday.

Marrone repeatedly declared he was "110 percent" certain Manuel would start the season finale against the New England Patriots. Marrone added the team does not believe Manuel's latest setback will require surgery.

Manuel's sprained left knee -- the same one that underwent surgery in the preseason -- was hurt late in the first half of Sunday's 27-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The injury apparently happened when a Jaguars defender hit Manuel while in the pocket.

Manuel didn't come out of the game and had a fine performance, posting a 105.0 passer rating. He reported soreness Monday morning.

Marrone said Monday the team believed Manuel's knee injury was minor, but the rookie clearly struggled with his mobility while warming up for today's practice.

A right knee injury in Week Five against the Cleveland Browns kept Manuel out of action for four games.

  • Paul Bruhns

    I just watched the final 2 series of downs prior to the half on NFL
    rewind... I did not see a hit. EJ did get tripped up (left knee) on the
    play just prior to the Carpenter field goal, but the contact was
    negligible. Could he be that fragile?

    • danaboo

      Some boxers were said to have glass jaws, EJ must have some glass knees. Sounds like he won't be around long.

  • PaulR

    Time.To.Draft.A.QB

    • The General

      Agreed 100%.

    • LDawg

      Yup!

  • Jerry Ballsmacker

    Injury prone, draft someone else. Draft another wide receiver too. "110% he plays in New England" we all know it's impossible to go over 100%. Idiot.

  • LDawg

    Get rid of him. Made of glass. Draft another QB.

  • Millhouse

    A break for the Bills; with a forecast of sloppy wet weather, Lewis gives them a better chance to win. EJ had trouble throwing in 5 out of 8 quarters in the FL games; how is he going to get it done in wet, probably windy weather?

    • Paul Bruhns

      AAAND Lewis played the first Miami game, managing a win.

  • Dennis Allyn

    This is ridiculous! This guy is made of glass or find China or something especially in the way they treat

    • LDawg

      The strength and conditioning coach has been a joke for years yet this guy still is employed.

  • Billeve

    The Bills are completely out of the playoff run so why would we play EJ with any sort of an injury.. we need him long term so why risk further injury to our starting QB. Are we unaware that our QB is a ROOKIE! cant we wait to judge him until this time next season?? give the kid a chance.. and an off season to train and work on his skills!! Why would any QB want to ever play in Buffalo when the fans are so quick to throw them under the bus and demand a new one??? Judging from these comments, im guessing that all of you are not actual football fans because if you were, you would know that in Peyton Manning's rookie year, he had only 3 wins and had the most interceptions in the NFL. Tom Brady wasn't even a starter his rookie year. Drew Brees was traded from his original team for Phil Rivers. Stop hating on EJ and get behind your QB and team! for shame. (p.s. we selected Losman 1st round of the draft and look how well that worked out.. careful what you wish for)

    • Prusak359

      Every NFL expert said Losman was a reach and a poor pick. Its not about drafting a QB, its about drafting a good one.

      • Moonfeet

        Yeah...and those same experts had Brady in the 6th round...so what's your point...?

  • Jeff

    Steve Young was asked on ESPN about the RG3 benching last week and he laughed. Either you're starter, and you play if you are physically able, or you're not. There is no "resting" in the NFL for a starting QB who need reps. It looks like EJ's days are numbered at Buffalo, or at the very least they'll draft competition.

    And by the way, when did he get hurt? He was smiling and jogging off the field after the JAX game. Did he slip on the mat in the locker room or something?

    It would have been nice to see him say "hell no. I'm playing. This is my team and I want to screw Miami's playoff hopes." But heck, we're Buffalo so we don't give a flying crap about that stuff I guess.

  • Rich

    Draft that Texas Freddy Football fella, he is made of steel, get 16 games out of him and he can take us to the promised land.

  • Richard W

    never ending saga w/Bills. Hey all u need to do is ask and you can go EJ, so far you haven't showed diddly. Bengals punter is tougher than Manuel, see u in the funnies, go Thad Lewis, go on with your bad self.

  • George Winston III

    EJ and his injuries are turning into a side show. This guy will obviously never put an entire season of 16 games as the Bill's starting QB. While many draftniks were not keen on the EJ pick in the 1st round, who would ever thought Buffalo would have been derailed by a player who cannot stay on the field.

  • Nick

    Just because Lewis won the first meeting doesn't mean he will this time. Especially since they barely won the first game

  • Prusak359

    Face it, EJ is not durable. He has missed half of training camp, and a third of the season with knee injuries, yet really hasn't been hit hard once. EJ is making Ville Leino looklike an iron man.

    Time to draft another QB.

  • Moonfeet

    I wish everyone would stop their crying about EJ. These last 2 games mean absolutely nothing. At this point, they are just schedule fillers. Getting reps in meaningless games isn't as important as not getting injured seriously if the QB isn't mobile enough to avoid big hits. Shanahan ruined RG3's career with his bonehead decision to play his injured star QB. Now RG3 is just a sideshow. I'm sure EJ would be in there if the game meant anything at all...so get behind Marrone and his decision to play Lewis...who is an able backup. He beat the fish once and he can do it again....this time with a healthy defensive secondary. It's the right decision for this scenario.

  • Moonfeet

    hahahahaha...I love hearing all these people talk about how fragile EJ is.....I would bet every one of these commentors would be out for the season if they were hit by even one of the Jills.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.