It was a good thing Eli Manning spent most of the day Tuesday having his head examined. Sticking his skull into an MRI machine might have been the only way to avoid looking at the grisly images of him bleeding all over the nation's television screens Monday night.
Although the Giants remain confident that Manning did not suffer a concussion when he was drilled from behind by the Jets' Calvin Pace, a tackle that sent Manning's helmet flying and his forehead crashing into Jim Leonhard, the NFL requires teams to give thorough consideration to all head injuries.
"He's going to go through the battery of tests that any player has who experiences any kind of a head injury," Tom Coughlin said Tuesday. "They're not going to leave any stone unturned. They are going to do all of the tests, the MRIs and all of those things, and at that point in time, I'm sure they'll get a hold of me."
Coughlin said he expected to have Manning back in Albany for training camp last night. He said he would have to wait to hear from doctors, however, as to whether Manning will be able to participate during the week or even in Saturday's second preseason game against the Steelers.
Manning was examined and sent home by team doctors Monday night - while the game was still in progress - after taking 12 stitches to close a three-inch laceration on his forehead above his left eye. The Giants said he showed no signs of a concussion at that time and Manning, in a quote released by the team during the game, said he felt "normal" and could have returned to the game had he been needed.
"It's really not an injury," he said. "Nothing serious."
That was the gist of what Manning expressed to Coughlin Tuesday morning, as well as in the text messages they exchanged.
"I think the normal discomfort that a guy goes through when he has stitches and what have you was the experience," Coughlin said. "He didn't talk too much about pain."
Even if Manning is cleared to play neurologically, he still could have a problem because of the location of the wound and the way his helmet will sit on his head.
"With Eli being the kind of guy he is, the idea for me going forward was, gee, how are we going to make it so that he can practice and play with the stitches?" Coughlin said. "There is naturally concern there from the doctors' standpoint, as well. Just the nature of where the helmet sits according to where the stitches are could create a problem in terms of healing."
Manning's helmet was securely buckled for the play, Coughlin said. When the quarterback collided with Brandon Jacobs in the backfield, it caused Manning's chinstrap to ride up his face. The hit from Pace then popped the already unsecured helmet.
"The whiplash effect threw the chinstrap even higher and the natural progression was that the helmet came off," Coughlin said.