Tonawanda News

Bills

December 19, 2013

Swollen knee forces Manuel out vs. Dolphins

Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel was ruled out from playing against the Miami Dolphins because of swelling in his left knee.

That means journeyman backup Thad Lewis, who is from Miami, will make his fourth start of the season on Sunday — and second of the year against the Dolphins.

The Bills (5-9) have already been eliminated from playoff contention. The Dolphins (8-6), meanwhile, control their own playoff destiny. Miami, which has won three straight and four of five, can clinch a berth by either winning its final two games or having both Baltimore and Cincinnati lose.

Bills coach Doug Marrone made the decision to sit Manuel early into practice on Wednesday after the rookie first-round draft pick showed difficulty with his mobility. Manuel practiced inside the team’s fieldhouse, and was then held out once Marrone shifted the session outside on the slick turf at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Marrone said Manuel’s lack of mobility and instability in the knee would have made it difficult to play. And he was also concerned how ready Manuel might be with limited practice time.

Manuel was hurt during a 27-20 loss at Jacksonville on Sunday, though it’s not clear on which play the injury occurred.

Drafted 16th overall out of Florida State, Manuel was the first and only quarterback selected in the first round.

He has gone 4-6 as a starter this season. And this will mark the third time since training camp that he’s been sidelined with a knee injury.

Manuel missed the final two weeks of the preseason after having a procedure on his left knee, which he hurt in a game against Minnesota. He then missed four games after spraining his right knee in a 37-24 loss at Cleveland on Oct. 3.

Marrone first revealed the injury on Monday, but was optimistic about Manuel’s chances of playing.

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