Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Oft-injured QB Kolb hurt in freak accident

Improving rookie Manuel takes over at Bills camp

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Quarterback Kevin Kolb's chances of earning the Buffalo Bills starting job were nearly upended by a wet and slippery rubber mat.

Kolb, locked in competition with rookie first-round pick EJ Manuel, avoided serious injury to his left knee when he slipped and stumbled awkwardly while switching fields between practice drills Saturday.

Coach Doug Marrone said the injury does not appear to be serious. He called it "a bump," and listed Kolb "day by day."

Marrone also provided an update on the status of Stevie Johnson, saying the team's No. 1 receiver will miss at least a week with a pulled left hamstring. Johnson was hurt in practice Friday.

'The one thing I do know about Kevin is that he is a tough son of a gun. He'll get back out there quickly if it's up to him'

-- Bills head coach Doug Marrone

Kolb wasn't available for comment, but showed frustration by angrily tossing his helmet to the ground before being examined by head trainer Bud Carpenter. After a few minutes, Kolb got up got up on his own and was escorted to the locker-room.

He was joining the quarterbacks and receivers in making their way through a tunnel to work out on an adjoining field. He slipped on a mat laid down over the concrete and immediately began hobbling in pain. He then put his arm around Carpenter's shoulder for support.

It was a freak accident that happened about 50 minutes into practice at Bills training camp in suburban Rochester.

This is but the latest in a series of setbacks for Kolb, who is entering his seventh NFL season and seeking a fresh start in Buffalo after signing a two-year contract in April.

Selected by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2007 draft, Kolb was sidelined by a concussion in losing the Eagles' starting job to Michael Vick to open the 2009 season. Kolb then spent the past two seasons in Arizona, where he failed to secure the starting job because of an assortment of injuries.

Marrone said it's unfair to label Kolb injury-prone. "The one thing I do know about Kevin is that he is a tough son of a gun. He'll get back out there quickly if it's up to him."

In the meantime, Manuel will be getting more practice time with the starters. That's a significant step up after Kolb spent much of the first week of camp getting most of the work with the starters.

Marrone had been increasing Manuel's responsibilities over the past week, with the two quarterbacks nearly evenly splitting snaps by Friday. Marrone liked how Manuel responded after Kolb was hurt by not letting the injury affect him or the offence.

"It was a very smooth transition," Marrone said. "It can affect the team. And I didn't see it affect the two guys behind him, so that's positive."

It's too early to determine whether Kolb's injury will affect the quarterback rotation for the Bills preseason opener at Indianapolis on Aug. 11.

Manuel has shown improvement with each day of practice.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 4, 2013 B5

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