Knee problems tell much of the story of E.J. Manuel 's rookie season. He underwent surgery in August to clean up his left meniscus. He missed four games during the middle part of the season and then the closing two games with injuries to each knee. His first offseason in the pros has begun with knee news as well.
Manuel said during a Thursday radio interview that he underwent a "minor" knee procedure shortly after the season ended. He said the surgery was related to the injury that forced him to miss those final two games. Manuel said the injury was a meniscus tear.
"The knee injury feels a lot better now," Manuel said. "I've got everything resolved and behind me. It was a minor procedure. I'm glad I got it done and kind of put it past me. With the rehab and things like that I'll be back to full strength and I don't think it'll bother me."
Manuel also said that he will wear a knee brace for the entire 2014 season, but he isn't too concerned about it.
"Around the league, guys wear [a knee brace]," Manuel said. "(Andrew) Luck wears one, Peyton (Manning) wears one on that front leg. When you have some defenders come down on you, you don't want to have to risk getting whatever type of knee injury. I'll have a brace, but it won't inhibit me still being able to take off and run."
I'm not worried about the brace either. Manuel should be able to top his 2013 rushing stats -- 53 carries, 186 yards, two touchdowns -- as long as he's healthy. Manuel's fantasy value for next season will be determined more by the progress he makes in accuracy and getting more comfortable in the pocket. The continued growth of young wideouts Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin will be a big help, too. Right now, Manuel is a low-end QB2. But as with all athletic, 23-year-old NFL starting quarterbacks, upside is present.