Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- While Thad Lewis has been getting all the work at quarterback for the Buffalo Bills over the past few weeks, rookie quarterback EJ Manuel has been silently waiting in the wings rehabbing his knee injury. With how his head coach spoke about it on Monday, Manuel's status has been thrust back into the spotlight.
"He's gonna ramp it up this week," head coach Doug Marrone told reporters. "He will be working extremely hard this week."
Manuel's original diagnosis as of October 16 was that he would miss an additional four-to-six weeks of action with an LCL sprain that he suffered in Week Five against Cleveland. With a bye set for Week 12, that timetable would put him on track to return either in Week 11 at home against the New York Jets, or in Week 13 in Toronto against the Atlanta Falcons.
Past the idea of his quarterback being expected to "ramp it up," Marrone would not go into any further detail of what that could mean for the short-term in a practice setting.
"And I can't answer the question, 'Is he gonna be practicing or not?'" he said. "I don't want to get into that and have it explode, but he's going to be working extremely hard to a level of a great stage for where we should be."
The head coach did concede that since they were heightening his workload this coming week, that he is getting closer to a potential return to practice. In his time away from practice, Manuel has been doing some cardio and strength work to prepare for the time in which doctors cleared him to return.
Ahead of the team's most recent game against the New Orleans Saints, Manuel was on the field throwing the ball to rookie wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. The quarterback was merely standing in place, and did not drop back and plant off his back leg (the right leg, which is injured) to throw.
The Bills resume practice on Wednesday in preparation for a contest with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo is 1-2 without Manuel as their quarterback.