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Manning, Brady return after missing practice
NFC Championship Foot Heal
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning loosens up during practice Thursday in East Rutherford, N.J. - photo by Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Tough luck, Frisco fans. Eli Manning's tummy is just fine.

The New York Giants quarterback was back at practice Thursday after missing part of the previous day's workout with "a stomach bug."

"I'm 100 percent," Manning said after practicing for Sunday's NFC title game against the 49ers in San Francisco. "I had a full practice today, did everything, took every rep. I feel good."

Manning felt sick after waking up Wednesday. He "toughed it out" and attended team meetings and took part in the walk-through portions of practice before letting backup David Carr handle the live snaps.

"It wasn't going well so I tried to be smart," said Manning, who received intravenous fluids after leaving practice Wednesday. "It was fortunate it happened on a Wednesday and not later in the week."

Manning texted coach Tom Coughlin late Wednesday evening and told him he was feeling better.

"When he got to work today, he had a nice breakfast and seemed to do fine," Coughlin said. "He is not quite himself, but almost."

There was almost no chance Manning would miss the game because of a stomach virus. After all, his streak of 128 straight starts, including playoffs, is tops in the NFL.

A shoulder injury in 2007 didn't sideline him and a foot injury two years later couldn't keep him off the field.

Manning took over as the active leader in consecutive quarterback starts at the beginning of the season when his brother, Peyton, was sidelined after neck surgery.

Manning downplayed his illness and the fuss it created. It marked the first time this season that he was listed on the team's injury report.

"I didn't watch too much TV so I didn't see the attention it was getting," he said. "You know, when you get into big games like this any little thing that pops up people make a big deal about. We can put it behind us now and focus on the game."

Kevin Gilbride said that Manning took great offense when the offensive coordinator told him he looked pale before practice Thursday.

"We did everything with him," Gilbride said. "Maybe we slowed down a couple of the drills between our work sessions, where the defense is up and we normally do a lot of drills. We did a couple, not quite as many. For the most part. He participated in everything and did everything we normally do."


Brady back from injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady is back practicing. Everyone associated with the New England Patriots is acting like he never missed a snap.

Brady returned to the field Thursday after being out the previous day resting his left, non-throwing shoulder. If it's a big deal to the football world that the Patriots' star quarterback briefly was sidelined four days before the AFC championship, his teammates and coach treated it as an inconsequential blip.

So did the two-time league MVP.

"It's not the first practice I have missed over the years," Brady said with a shrug of his shoulders — including the sore left one. "When coach feels its best that you do other things to get yourself ready, that's what you do, and you still use all that time very wisely. When your coach feels it is best to do other things to get yourself ready, that is what you do."

Coach Bill Belichick revealed little about Brady's absence on Wednesday, lumping it in with every other player in the NFL who gets nicked. Then again, Belichick doesn't give out much information or insight on anything injury-related. Ever.

New England hosts the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship on Sunday.

Brady missed one practice and was limited for two others during the final week of the regular season, but he played all but the final offensive series in a 49-21 win over Buffalo. Last Saturday, he played every New England offensive series in a 45-10 divisional playoff win over Denver after being on the injury list but practicing in full all week.

The quarterback stretched and ran a few drills Thursday during the 15 minutes the media were allowed access to the session. He ran with the ball in his left arm as backup quarterback Brian Hoyer half-heartedly attempted to knock it out. Brady showed no signs of being in pain.

The day before, Brady had to find ways to keep himself occupied during the missed session.

"You don't go lounging around taking naps or anything like that," he said with a chuckle. "You just try to do other things to get yourself ready to go. So catch up on your film work and get some extra treatments and so forth. It's just a matter of ultimately we're trying to be as prepared as we can for Sunday. I'm certainly going to be as prepared as I possibly can be.

"It's not the first practice that I've missed over the years. You come off a game Saturday or Sunday and you're just doing everything you can to be prepared. You're just putting in extra work and making sure you're getting prepared."

Then Brady promised to be out on the field, and a while later he was.