Eli Manning will miss the New York Giants’ next exhibition game, although the sprain to the quarterback’s right elbow doesn’t appear to be serious enough for him to miss any regular-season contests.

Further examination Monday by Dr. Russell Warren, the team doctor, confirmed that Manning has a sprain and a bruise of his elbow, injured when he was stripped of the ball by Carolina’s Julius Peppers during New York’s 27-21 win Saturday night.

Manning will miss Friday night’s game with the New York Jets although he said Monday that if it was a regular-season game, he might try to play.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Manning is “week to week” as is starting cornerback Will Peterson, who sprained a knee during the game.

Tim Hasselbeck will replace Manning.

Eagles

Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens aren’t talking – off the field.

But McNabb says he needs some time working with his favorite receiver in exhibition games.

Owens returned to practice Monday afternoon and did not appear limited by the injury. The Eagles’ next preseason game is Friday at home against Cincinnati.

“It’s very important that we be able to get some work,” McNabb said. “It’s valuable time right now, what we’re doing on the practice field. But once we get out on the playing field, we want to keep that same mentality – what we’ve done in practice is the same thing we’ve done in a game.”

Panthers

Running back Stephen Davis was on the field Monday for the first time this training camp, participating in a few individual drills.

Davis had microfracture surgery on his right knee last November and the Panthers have been hesitant to allow him to practice. He opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers missed practice sat out to rest a sore right ankle.

The Panthers also said that rookie Thomas Davis was being switched back to safety to replace Colin Branch, lost for the season with a knee injury.

Vikings

Running back Michael Bennett didn’t practice Monday because of a sore neck, and the Vikings might keep him out of this week’s preseason game as a precaution.

Mewelde Moore will be the starter on Friday night against the San Diego Chargers. Bennett will be evaluated daily, but coach Mike Tice said he doesn’t want to risk further injury for an exhibition game.

Ravens

Tight end Todd Heap was activated off the physically unable to perform list but will not play in the team’s preseason game Friday night in New Orleans.

The two-time Pro Bowl pick, slowed by ankle and shoulder surgeries, did not participate in any training camp practices, but he will be on the field this week at the team’s training facility and could be ready for the final exhibition game Sept. 1 against Washington.

“It felt good to be out there with the guys,” Heap said Monday afternoon after being activated from the physically unable to perform list. “It’s about time to get back into it. I’ve been working really hard to get my body back healthy and it’s about time.”

Heap missed nine weeks last season with an ankle injury, but upon his return, he registered 15 of his 27 receptions for the year, as well as all three of his touchdowns.



Browns

Cleveland cornerback Gary Baxter did not practice on Monday, two days after sustaining a concussion on a hard hit in an exhibition game against Detroit.

Also, running back Lee Suggs remained sidelined with a sprained left ankle.

Baxter was injured when he collided with Lions running back Kevin Jones while making a tackle near the sideline on Saturday. He stayed on the turf for several minutes before being assisted off the field.

Baxter, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, watched from the sideline in street clothes in the second half.

The 26-year-old remained inside the team’s practice facility on Monday as the Browns began preparing for Friday’s home exhibition against the Carolina Panthers.

“With concussions, there is some sensitivity to light, so he didn’t come outside,” said Browns coach Romeo Crennel, who didn’t know when Baxter would be cleared to play.

Titans

Top draft pick, Adam “Pacman” Jones finally signed his five-year contract and joined Tennessee’s practice after a holdout caused him to miss 31 sessions.

Jones had hoped to practice Sunday after agreeing in principle to a deal Wednesday, but the complicated contract had to be approved by the NFL and the players’ association. His agent, Michael Huyghue arrived Sunday in Nashville to help work through the final details.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he’s glad to have his top pick on the field.

“It’s a unique arrangement, but it’s good,” Fisher said. “It’s best for both sides right now, and the most important thing now is Pac. He’s been ready to return really since camp started.”

Chargers

All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was placed on the Roster Exempt List on Monday, meaning he’ll have to sit out San Diego’s final two exhibition games and the season opener against Dallas on Sept. 11. He can be added to the activer roster on Sept. 12.

“I tried to come in Saturday but I couldn’t get a flight,” Gates said Monday. “It wasn’t my intention to actually miss the deadline.”

That was news to the Chargers, who despite 10 months of talks have been unable to agree with Gates’ agent on terms of a long-term contract.

The team never mentioned Gates’ failure to get a flight, either in a statement Saturday afternoon announcing that Gates had missed the deadline for reporting, or on Sunday when general manager A.J. Smith held a news conference at halftime of a 36-21 exhibition win over St. Louis.

“As you know, all the rumors were that he was on his way,” Smith said Sunday. “We had not officially heard that. But we got a phone call before we kicked off. He is on his way. He is going to sign the tender this evening.”

Smith didn’t immediately return a phone call on Monday.

But, said team spokesman Bill Johnston: “We only had conversations with the agent on Saturday morning, and the agent never informed us that Antonio was coming in on Saturday. We weren’t notified until Sunday before the game.”

Gates’ agent, Andre Colona, didn’t return a phone call or e-mail seeking comment.

Gates, an exclusive-rights free agent, reported Sunday night and signed a $380,000, one-year contract, the minimum for a third-year player.

He had a breakout year in 2004, helping the Chargers go 12-4 and reach the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. Gates caught 13 touchdown passes – a league record for tight ends – and led the Chargers with 81 catches for 964 yards.

AP-ES-08-22-05 2204EDT


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