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NFL notebook

Manning bloodied in Giants’ victory

Giants quarterback Eli Manning suffered a gash to his forehead last night after he had his helmet knocked off. Giants quarterback Eli Manning suffered a gash to his forehead last night after he had his helmet knocked off. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Associated Press / August 17, 2010

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Mark Sanchez was sharp, while Eli Manning needed stitches.

Manning was forced to leave the New York Giants’ 31-16 victory over the Jets last night after suffering a bloody, 3-inch gash to the left side of his head early in the second quarter. The Giants quarterback needed 12 stitches to close the cut, and showed no sign of concussion after being hurt with 10:45 left in the first half.

Sanchez led the Jets on three scoring drives, overcoming an interception on his first pass, while playing the entire first half in the first football game played at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The teams traditionally meet in the third game of the preseason, but both wanted to be part of the unveiling of their new $1.6 billion, 82,500-seat home.

The big night ended early for Manning, who was hurt when running back Brandon Jacobs smacked into him with his shoulder on a fake handoff.

After losing the ball, Manning tried to grab it, but was hit in the middle of his back by linebacker Calvin Pace. Manning’s helmet was knocked off, pushing him forward, face-first. Manning’s head plowed into either safety Jim Leonhard or Jacobs, and the quarterback quickly called for the training staff, his hand covered in blood.

“I feel fine. I feel normal,’’ Manning said in a statement released by the team. “The play was my fault . . . It’s preseason, you learn from it.’’

Manning was replaced by Jim Sorgi, who filled in nicely, throwing two touchdown passes to rookie Victor Cruz. The former UMass star finished with three TD catches.

The kinks were still being worked out in the stadium as a fire alarm went off in the first quarter that knocked out the public address system until the second quarter.

Bills shuffle backfield
The Bills’ plan to ease rookie running back C.J. Spiller into the offense got accelerated when last year’s leading rusher, Fred Jackson, divulged he will miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his left hand, making both of Buffalo’s top running backs uncertain for the season opener.

Jackson and Marshawn Lynch were injured early in the Bills’ exhibition loss to Washington Friday night. Jackson broke the fourth metacarpal bone when he landed on his hand, and Lynch is out indefinitely after spraining his ankle.

The Bills were intending to use Spiller, drafted ninth overall, in a two-back system alongside either Jackson or Lynch. Spiller is now expected to share the rushing duties with Chad Simpson and undrafted rookie Joique Bell. Yesterday, Buffalo signed Andre Anderson, an undrafted rookie out of Tulane.

“I haven’t talked to the coaches at all, but I’ve just got to be ready for however many reps I’m given,’’ said Spiller, who had four carries for 16 yards against Washington.

The Bills’ next exhibition game is against the Colts Thursday in Toronto.

Westbrook joins 49ers
The 49ers signed veteran running back Brian Westbrook to a one-year deal, ending his lengthy search for a new employer. Westbrook, 30, had visited several teams since he was released by the Eagles in February, and San Francisco had a need after backup running back Glen Coffee abruptly retired last week . . . The 49ers traded defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer to the Seahawks for an unspecified draft pick next year. Balmer, the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2008, left the team last Monday for what was termed personal reasons. He met last Wednesday night with 49ers coach Mike Singletary, but still was a no-show at training camp. “I moved on the last time we talked. I was done,’’ Singletary said. The Seahawks expected Balmer to be ready to practice today. Coach Pete Carroll said a roster move would be made once Balmer arrived. Balmer is entering the third year of an $8 million, five-year deal.

Silva has torn ACL
Colts safety Jamie Silva will miss the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the team announced. Silva, who made the Colts as an undrafted rookie out of Boston College in 2008 and worked his way up to second string last season, injured his right knee during the second half of Sunday’s 37-17 exhibition loss to the 49ers.

Silva is the second Colts defensive back to sustain a serious knee injury. Rookie Kevin Thomas injured his right knee during a rookie minicamp and also is expected to miss the season.

Smith back in action
In his first practice since breaking his forearm in June, Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith made an acrobatic, leaping catch during individual drills. “I’m trying to take my time and be methodical with it,’’ said Smith, who earlier in the day was activated off the physically unable to perform list . . . The Vikings welcomed Percy Harvin back to practice, as their versatile wide receiver began to get himself back in football shape. Harvin, the NFL’s 2009 offensive rookie of the year, was on the field for the first time in more than two weeks . . . Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said he fully expects wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to be ready for the regular season after the Pro Bowler suffered a sprained right knee in Saturday night’s exhibition win over the Texans. Whisenhunt said the team will be conservative in its treatment of the injury, which could mean Fitzgerald won’t play in the remaining three preseason games . . . Texans rookie running back Ben Tate is out for the season because of a fractured ankle suffered in Saturday’s exhibition loss to the Cardinals. Houston also placed backup defensive end and former Boston College standout Tim Bulman (shoulder) on injured reserve . . . Another ex-BC player, Cowboys right tackle Marc Colombo, is expected to miss up to two weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his right knee . . . Bears backup quarterback Caleb Hanie will be sidelined for most of the remainder of the preseason after spraining his right shoulder Saturday night.

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