EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) –  New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is back and ready to go.
Manning returned to practice Monday and left no doubt that he intends to play Saturday’s next-to-last preseason game against the Ravens in Baltimore.

“I’m feeling great,” Manning said. “Ready, excited about getting out to practice today and getting back into the action.”

Manning was held out of the Giants’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday because the team was concerned that a gash on the left side of his forehead would reopen if he was hit or that it would be irritated or infected by wearing his helmet.

The 12 stitches that were needed to close the wound were removed Friday, four days after the quarterback was cut in a game against the Jets.

“It’s no fun sitting out, sitting out practice last week,” Manning said. “At least it was a short week and I didn’t miss too much. I like being out there for the games. It is preseason and I was trying to be smart and make sure I get everything healed now where you have a little time.”

Manning, who led the Giants to a Super Bowl in February 2008, has started a franchise-record 87 consecutive regular-season games.

Manning wore a bandage over the wound and practiced wearing a baseball cap. He said the gash is healing fine and that the scar is not too bad.

The team plans to add a little extra padding to his helmet to protect the wound, which occurred last Monday when Manning had his helmet knocked off and was hit by Jets safety Jim Leonhard.

“Well, we’ll work with it. We’ll get a little plan,” Manning said. “I haven’t put a helmet on yet, but kind of plan to put the helmet on Wednesday.”

The third preseason game is usually the most important for NFL teams. It’s the one that the starters play at least a half and sometimes more.

The Giants’ offense needs the work. The unit has been limited in the preseason with starting guards Chris Snee (knee) and Rich Seubert (hand) out with injuries. The team also was forced to use third-string quarterback Rhett Bomar the whole game against the Steelers because of injuries to Manning and backup Jim Sorgi (shoulder), which meant the game plan had to be reduced.

Snee and Seubert are due back this week and the Giants have most of their tight ends back, too. They have played short-handed most of training camp with Kevin Boss (hamstring), Travis Beckum (hamstring) and Scott Chandler (hip) bothered by injuries.

“It’s good that everybody is getting back healthy,” Manning said. “It’s just something that happens at training camp. You get a few guys banged up, and if it’s time to get everybody back, this is kind of the time you want everybody back when you’re getting close to the start of the season. We’ve got a long week, a full week between games. So I’m looking forward to a great week of practice and getting everybody kind of back healthy, back into sync of what we’re doing.”

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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