New York Giants' No. 2 wide receiver Mario Manningham was having success finding soft spots in the St. Louis Rams' coverage on Monday night as he nabbed three passes for 56 yards before halftime. Manningham was knocked out of the game on that third catch and didn't return, however, as he suffered a concussion when he hit his head on the turf.
The Giants were shorthanded at receiver for the remainder of the game, although they did pull out a 28-16 victory. Manningham's status is not yet completely clear, but with concussions there is always a concern that some games could be missed.
Little information has come out regarding Manningham's injury to this point. According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, Manningham said after the game that he landed on his neck and did not suffer from a concussion. Despite that, the Giants' training staff said Manningham failed to pass a concussion test.
It sounds as if Manningham may have been trying to downplay his injury, but if he was unable to pass a test that involves memory and eye movement, there is probably something to the notion that he did, in fact, suffer a concussion.
When Is He Ready to Return?
Little has changed regarding Manningham's status since Monday night, so we can only speculate at this point about whether or not he will be available to play next week. For him to have been taken out for the duration of the game, Manningham must have suffered from one of several symptoms that preclude a player from returning according to NFL rules.
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The rules also state that for a player to return to football-related activities, that player must be asymptomatic both while playing and at rest. He must also be cleared by a team physician and an independent physician. More will surely come to light on Manningham's condition as the week goes on, but he has plenty of obstacles to clear if he hopes to play next week.
With wide receiver Hakeem Nicks banged up across from him, Manningham was a popular fantasy starter this past week. He was on his way to a fine performance before being knocked out of the game early. He is probably a low-end WR2 and high-end WR3 in most fantasy formats, so an extended absence could certainly hurt some owners.
Slot receiver Domenik Hixon likely would have been in line to receive the majority of Manningham's targets if he missed any time, but Hixon was injured soon after Manningham on a juggled 22-yard touchdown catch at the end of the first half. Hixon's knee buckled and he missed the remainder of the game as well.
If both Manningham and Hixon are out, then second-year man Victor Cruz figures to get plenty of work. Cruz made just two catches Monday night, but he is comfortable with the offense. The recently signed Brandon Stokley would also be involved, but he has yet to learn the offense fully. Neither player would likely be fantasy worthy.
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What They're Saying
Manningham seemed unconcerned with the injury following the game, but Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was unsure of his status, according to Jane McManus of ESPNNewYork.com.
"My neck stiffened up, man," Manningham said. "But I'll be good."
Even though Manningham will be evaluated further, Coughlin said he hopes the fourth-year player will be able to play against the Eagles next Sunday.
"Hopefully he's not too bad," Coughlin said.
It remains to be seen whether Manningham will be cleared to play next week, but the Giants would certainly love to have him for a pivotal divisional contest with the Philadelphia Eagles.