Eli Manning’s Ankle Could Trip Up Big Blue’s New Offensive Flow

The New York Giants endured a treacherous 2013 season. Injuries decimated the squad and the preseason absences of star receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks had Eli Manning searching all season for that chemistry with his receivers that they enjoyed in 2012.

Eli threw a league-worst 27 interceptions. Everyone knew how important it was for this revamped Giants offense to have a full offseason to work together, but it doesn’t look as if that’s going to happen as the injury bug has sidelined Manning for a stretch.

On Thursday afternoon, the two-time Super Bowl MVP had arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle . Just 11 days before the opening of the Giants’ offseason training program, the team’s leader and most indispensible player had a debridement procedure performed by Dr. Robert Anderson.

Some media heads speculated that Eli injured his ankle attending Duke “passing camp” on Wednesday. It’s an offseason tradition of training with his brother Peyton at the North Carolina college. According to The Daily News, on Wednesday, Manning showed up on Broncos TE Julius Thomas’ Instagram, chilling with Coach K, Peyton, Cruz and several other passing camp participants on a basketball court.

Manning says he felt discomfort in the ankle while at the camp, but the injury has nothing to do with playing ball. Manning said, the cause of surgery is a high ankle sprain that he suffered against the Washington Redskins in the regular season finale.

“I went through the recovery and rehab after suffering the sprain, “ Manning told The NY Daily News. “I was still experiencing some discomfort as I began my normal offseason preparation…I think it’s smart to get this procedure done now so the ankle isn’t an ongoing issue.”

Manning says he hopes to be running in six weeks, but the Giants aren’t going to rush him back onto the field, so its most likely he will miss OTA’s which begin April 21 and could be back for some of the on-field portion of OTA’s which doesn’t begin until May 28. Last year Manning insisted that he would have a good amount of time to work with Cruz and Nicks and that they would be as potent as ever. We all know how that worked out. The Giants passing attack finished an uncharacteristic 19th in the NFL and Nicks was a malcontent the entire season, grabbing just 56 balls. After signing a fresh five-year $43 million deal, Cruz was not money in the bank, but he was decent, catching 73 balls for just under 1,000 yards. In the aftermath OC Kevin Gilbride was forced into retirement and to say the Giants had little faith in their ground game would be an understatement.

Manning has been an iron man since becoming the Giants starter in 2004, taking over for legendary Rams QB Kurt Warner. Manning has not missed a start and not suffered an injury requiring major surgery until last Dec, 29th. It’s a safe bet that he’ll be back sooner than expected and more effective.

The Giants hope it’s more sooner than later because this offseason is a critical one as the Giants introduce new OC Ben McAdoo’s playbook and are eager to see how the improved offensive line develops as well as the promising skills of young receivers Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan.

Manning said he was “eager to work with our new offensive coaches and system.”

After last year’s nightmare in air, of course Manning can’t wait to put that miserable season in his rear view. It just won’t be happening this month, but all the Giants truly care about is his health come opening kickoff in September.

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