Giants QB Eli Manning dons helmet at practice, expects to play against Ravens

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has a new helmet and is ready to play.

Manning practiced with a helmet on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a three-inch cut on the left side of his forehead in a preseason game against the New York Jets, declaring himself ready for Saturday's contest in Baltimore.

"It felt fine," Manning said of the new helmet. "There were no issues. I had a normal day of practice, no pain, no discomfort. So I am ready to go as usual."

The Giants medical staff found no signs of a concussion after Manning's helmet came off when Jets linebacker Calvin Pace slammed the quarterback's head into another player on Aug. 16. He needed 12 stitches to close the cut.

Manning said there is nothing special about his new helmet other than the chin strap and the buttons, which are placed higher so the helmet stays on better. He's wearing a bandage to cover the wound and help prevent the helmet from irritating the scar when he puts it on and takes it off.

Manning hopes to play at least a half in the penultimate preseason game, which is normal for the starters. He doesn't think he'll have to alter his playing time in the final preseason game against the New England Patriots because he missed last weekend's game against Pittsburgh.

"I don't think we will play any more than we usually do," Manning said of starters, who generally play a series or two in the final preseason game.

Manning plans to use the new helmet for a couple of weeks. If he likes it, he'll stay with it. If he doesn't, he'll go back to his old helmet, provided that his cut is healed.

The seven-year veteran and MVP of the Giants' Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 2008 said jokingly that practicing in a baseball cap on Monday and Tuesday was fun.

"It really felt pretty good," Manning said. "I kind of liked it. I could get used to that. It's good to get the helmet back on and stop hearing the comments from the offensive line, as I knew would be coming."

While Manning seemingly is back to normal, there remains concern about backup Jim Sorgi. He tore a muscle in his shoulder in the preseason game against the Jets and has not played.

Sorgi said he hoped to practice Monday and play against the Patriots. The 29-year-old backed up Manning's brother, Peyton, in Indianapolis the last six years.

Sorgi injured his shoulder late last season with the Colts and was placed on injured reserve. Now he has a different shoulder injury that might make the Giants think twice about keeping him on their final roster.

Second-year pro Rhett Bomar played the entire game against the Steelers on Saturday.

"I have seen those decisions go in the player's favor and not in the player's favor," Sorgi said. "I am going to try to get out there and hopefully make the decision a little easier for them, and hopefully in my favor."

Last week, Sorgi said he could not make a throwing motion. He said there has been some improvement, but is trying to stay away from things that irritate the shoulder.