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Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel out 'a few weeks' with sprained LCL

EJ Manuel left Thursday's game after receiving this hit from Tashaun Gipson.EJ Manuel left Thursday's game after this hit from Tashaun Gipson. Manuel sprained his LCL. (David Richard/AP)

The news could have been better and it also could have been much, much worse for Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel after he left Thursday night's game with a knee injury. Buffalo coach Doug Marrone announced Friday that Manuel had sprained his LCL, an injury that will keep Manuel out of the lineup for "a few weeks."

The silver lining for Manuel is that he will avoid surgery, meaning he should be back on the field at some point in 2013.

Manuel injured his right knee in the Bills' loss to the Browns when he took a hit from safety Tashaun Gipson. Rather than step out of bounds on a scramble, Manuel tried to pick up a few extra yards, only to be dropped by Gipson. Gipson's helmet appeared to hit Manuel's knee, and the QB's leg whipped around in a manner similar to how Robert Griffin III's did on a hit from Haloti Ngata last season. Griffin also suffered an LCL sprain.

"It's difficult to coach the competitiveness out of a player," Marrone said of Manuel's decision to stay inbounds. "None of us here want someone who's not competitive."

Jeff Tuel replaced Manuel on Thursday night, only to struggle terribly down the stretch. He finished 8-of-20 passing for 80 yards and a critical pick-six in the waning minutes. The undrafted rookie is currently the lone QB on the Bills' active roster. Veteran Thaddeus Lewis was signed to the practice squad before the regular season began.

Marrone said the team will look outside the organization for a quarterback prior to their Week 6 game with Cincinnati. The recently released Josh Freeman may be the biggest name available, though others like Vince Young, Matt Leinart, David Carr and Trent Edwards have starting experience. The Bills will likely want their new QB to at least be capable of competing with Tuel for the starting job.
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