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October 3, 2011

QB EJ Manuel is back to practice this week

Florida State could fuel a bounce back from two straight losses with the return of its team leader.

Two weeks removed from a sprained AC joint suffered against Oklahoma, Junior quarterback E.J. Manuel was upbeat about his chances to return against Wake Forest as he spoke to the media on Monday. According to head coach Jimbo Fisher, Manuel will be returning as a full participant in practice.

"Doing good, doing a whole lot better than I was two weeks ago at this time," Manuel said. On Thursday, Manuel saw his first practice time since the injury but was limited to taking snaps during quarterback drills.

"My range of motion, my strength and all of that stuff is back so I'm doing good," Manuel said. "I'm excited to get back out there to practice."

While Fisher wouldn't commit to Manuel officially making the start against the Demon Deacons (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday), when Manuel was asked if he will play, he responded: "Yes sir."

"We expect him back (Monday), so that brings another dimension to the offense," Fisher said. "We'll see how it goes out there, but he was throwing last week - probably could have practiced. Hopefully he'll be ready to go."

Speaking to the media for the first time since the injury, Manuel called the third-quarter play against the Sooners a "freak accident" and said he attempted to return to the game but Fisher didn't want to risk further damage.

"When I run I always protect myself, protect the ball so that wasn't a problem," Manuel said. "I think it was my force coming down and the guy coming down behind me on my back hurt my shoulder."

While Manuel entered the week prior to Clemson with a hope that he could play, he said his shoulder didn't progress as he had hoped. He still struggled to lift his arm above his shoulder and he said he wasn't able to "let it rip."

"It still hurt bad," Manuel said. "My range of motion wasn't great, it's still a long season, but obviously it was a game we definitely wanted to win."

Redshirt freshman Clint Trickett was stellar in relief, throwing for 336 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-30 loss.

Manuel said the shoulder improved in the week following the Clemson game. He would get treatments three times a day since the injury. Manuel said he has done mobility drills with the shoulder and has been lifting weights again.

As he cranks up Wake Forest week with a full practice today, Manuel plans to keep his mind off any lingering effects of the injury moving forward.

"I think the main thing is continuing to play football. If you don't think about (the injury), I think you'll be fine," Manuel said. "I feel like if you're hesitant and you're kind of laboring an injury, that's when you hurt something else. You've just got to play football and not think about it. It will be fine."



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