Manning's status a mystery

Giants' QB hopes to face Packers on Sunday, though reports say he'll miss a month.

The key to Sunday's game against the New York Giants might not be so much Eli Manning's ability to beat the Packers' outstanding secondary as much as it's his ability to heal.

Manning's right (throwing) shoulder was injured late in Sunday night's loss to the Dallas Cowboys. A story on on Monday and on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Monday night said Manning could be out for a month with a slight separation, but the Giants criticized that report, and Manning hoped to run his consecutive-starts streak to 43 this week.

"They have put it in my hands," said Manning, who threw for 312 yards against the Cowboys in one of his best performances as a pro. "It's how you heal, and when you start to feel good and when you can make the throws. It's not a certain amount of time. It's how long you take to heal. I hope I'm a fast healer."

Whether Manning's status is mere subterfuge is open to some debate, considering nobody at Giants headquarters seemed to get the story straight. Manning called his injury a bruised shoulder. Giants coach Tom Coughlin called it a sprain. The Giants' public relations staff labeled it a bruised acromioclavicular joint, which is located near the collarbone. All of those are minor compared to a separation.

Whatever the injury, it occurred when he was thrown to the turf by Dallas' Anthony Spencer on a failed two-point conversion. He stayed in the game, completing his fourth touchdown pass of the game, but left for good when Dallas extended its lead to 45-35 in the final minutes.

The fact he was able to throw that fourth touchdown pass, however, made Manning "feel positive about my status this week."

"I am not in pain or hurting in any way," Manning said. "When I can throw the ball, I will be out there throwing."

The Giants are a lot less positive about standout defensive end Osi Umenyiora and starting running back Brandon Jacobs. According to the New York Daily News, Umenyiora will be out a month with a knee injury while Jacobs could be out even longer with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Without Jacobs, fourth-year pro Derrick Ward — who rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries against Dallas — will start against Green Bay. He has 48 career carries.

Third-year veteran Jason Tuck would replace Umenyiora. That's a big dropoff, and would be welcome news for a Green Bay offensive line that struggled to protect Brett Favre against the Eagles. Umenyiora had six sacks in 2006, 14.5 in 2005 and seven in 2004. Tuck, in his third year, has two career sacks, including one against Dallas.

If Manning can't play, Jared Lorenzen would get the call. The 285-pound Lorenzen is a third-year pro. He attempted his first three passes of his career against Dallas, completing one of them for 3 yards.

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