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NFC East: Eli's Ankle Surgery Raises Big Picture Questions

Posted Apr 10, 2014

Well, Cowboys fans aren’t alone in their concern for their franchise quarterback’s health, at least.

We already know about Tony Romo’s recovery from back surgery, and the expectation continues to be that he’ll be healthy and ready to go for both OTAs and training camp in the coming months. The Giants entered the injury fracas on Thursday, however, when the team announced Eli Manning would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his ankle.

Manning sprained the ankle in the season-ending win against Washington. He had apparently been rehabbing the injury since the end of the season, but the powers-that-be opted for the surgery to quell some continuing discomfort.

According to the Giants’ official website, Manning said he’ll be able to run in about six weeks. That’s going to limit him for the start of the team’s offseason program, though Manning said he’ll still be available for workouts and meetings.

It is a bit reminiscent of Romo’s offseason last spring, though, when the Cowboys announced he’d had surgery to remove a cyst just before the start of OTAs. Romo wound up sitting out the spring and returning in time for training camp.

Granted, this is different in the sense that Manning has roughly six weeks to prepare before the offseason action truly gets underway. As is the case with high-profile injuries, though, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him miss some practice time in the interest of caution.

It could be an interesting opportunity for Ryan Nassib, who the Giants drafted in the fourth round of last year’s draft. Nassib didn’t play a single snap of his rookie campaign, but the scrutiny around him is bound to increase if Manning sits out at all – much like it did for Kyle Orton with Romo on the sidelines last year.

That serves as another reminder all its own: Manning just turned 33, and Romo will turn 34 in about a week. Their injuries this offseason don’t appear to be serious and their careers are not over, but they aren’t the youngsters who competed for this division seven or so years ago.

Manning will be fine, but the Giants certainly have to be curious about what’s behind him for the longterm.  In the same way it makes you wonder, as many already have, when is it time for the Cowboys to think toward the future?

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