Eli Manning may be the undisputed leader of the Giants, but they're hoping no one else follows him to the sickbed.

Two days after the quarterback had to miss practice with a stomach bug, starting center David Baas was sidelined Friday by the same affliction. Those two players obviously are in close contact with each other, but there is a danger that the virus could spread elsewhere on the team, especially with a long flight in an enclosed space Saturday.

The Giants have been thinking about the 49ers all week. But a few microbes could become their real opponent.

"Everybody's wearing masks, everybody's washing their hands, everybody's doing all that they can," Tom Coughlin said of trying to combat the problem. "It's like when your sister came home with whatever [illness] and you got it."

That may have cost whoever's sister he was talking about a day or two of school back in the day. But this is the NFC Championship Game, the penultimate game of the season. And it seems possible that while the Giants are in the throes of the game, one or more players will be off to the side in a different kind of throes.

"You can't worry about that," said Kevin Boothe, who could be the next victim; he plays guard next to Baas and also stepped in for him at center in Friday's practice. "I think we're fine. Dave looked fine later on in the day. Eli bounced back strong. Hopefully Dave will do the same and hopefully that's the end of it."

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The Giants have been lathering up with hand sanitizers and making sure they stay hydrated to combat the invisible foe.

Manning was back on the field in about 24 hours and was able to function for most of that time. The Giants are trying to avoid the bug, but even if they don't, it's such a big game that it probably won't hold anyone back.

Said Dave Tollefson, "Just seeing how it affected Eli, unless you get the brunt of it in that three-to-four-hour window of the game, you're going to be able to make it."