By Jay Skurski
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is set to start another phase of his rehab for the Buffalo Bills.
Coach Doug Marrone said today that Manuel "will be working extremely hard this week."
"I can't answer the question, is he going to be practicing or not? You know, I don't want to get into that and have it explode," Marrone said, "but he's going to be working extremely hard. ... He's going to ramp it up this week."
Marrone conceded that meant Manuel was at least getting closer to a return to practice.
"Of course. Yes, he's getting closer to the practice setting if we're going to ramp him up," he said. "I gotta watch him. I haven't seen him out there yet. We're getting ready to ramp him up, so we're going to throw him out there and see how he does."
Manuel -- who was hurt in Week Five against Cleveland -- has missed three games. His rehab thus far has consisted of cardio and strength training.
Marrone said on Oct. 16 that Manuel was four-to-six weeks away from a return. If that timeline remains true, Manuel would likely return either in Week 11 at home against the Jets or Week 13 against the Atlanta Falcons in Toronto (the team has a bye in Week 12).
Manuel watched Sunday's 35-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints from the sidelines, as opposed to the coaches' booth, where he was for the first two games he missed. Buffalo is 1-2 under quarterback Thad Lewis in Manuel's absence.
"We're just trying to get him in a developmental stage where we keep working him, giving him different things to do, you know, give him a different perspective. I really think we're trying to be proactive in how we are developing our players that are injured," Marrone said. "One of the things that's important for us is that when we have players that are injured, that we keep working with them and keep developing, and not just cast them to the side and say 'OK, we're going to concentrate on the ones that are healthy, we can't worry about you right now.' I think that sends a poor message."
taggedDoug Marrone | EJ Manuel | Thad Lewis