The only things standing between Jeff Tuel becoming the first undrafted rookie to start at quarterback on opening day in modern history are a possible injury, Matt Leinart and the return of E.J. Manuel from his recent knee surgery.
Coach Doug Marrone addressed the possibility of Manuel’s return on Tuesday, saying that Manuel started working out Sunday but that he hasn’t resumed throwing the ball yet. Manuel has been telling the coach that he’s ready to play, but Marrone said that he’d be relying on doctors to give him the green light for Manuel’s return to work. Marrone also outlined when that green light would have to come in order for Manuel to play against the Patriots.
“If the doctor said, ‘You’re not going to get him on that field until Thursday, and then he’ll be ready to play on Sunday,’ I would be concerned about doing that,” Marrone said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “If they said, ‘Hey, we can get him on that field on Monday or Wednesday, I would see how he played and make a decision.”
Marrone added that the days were necessary for him to decide whether Manuel is ready to play or if he needs more time to knock off the rust that built up while he was recovering. It might not be the likeliest outcome for Buffalo, but it is one that won’t be ruled out until the team’s absolutely sure he can’t play.