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Dontae Manning details knee injury, clarifies status for start of 2022 season

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The already questionable state of the Oregon Ducks’ defensive secondary took an unfortunate hit during spring football earlier in the year. Former 5-star cornerback Dontae Manning went down with a knee injury in one of the first scrimmages of the camp and had to be taken out of Autzen Stadium in a wheelchair.

With guys like Mykael Wright, DJ James, and Verone McKinley not returning for the 2022 season, the depth at the position and in the secondary in general was immediately thrown into question. The Ducks had veteran transfer, Christian Gonzalez to lean on, but when one of your projected starting cornerbacks goes down, fans were right to hold their breath.

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It’s finally time for that sigh of relief to come, though.

At Oregon’s 2022 Media Day, Manning talked to reporters about the upcoming season and addressed the knee injury that held him out of the majority of the spring season.

“It was just a grade 2 strain, but I recovered from it from the rehab. I’m lifting and feeling great,” Manning said.

Music to Oregon fans’ ears.

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Now with a clear path to a starting spot with the hopes of stepping into a lockdown corner role opposite Gonzalez, Manning has a lot to prove about what he can do. He is among the highest-rated players to ever commit to the Ducks as a recruit, but he’s yet to see a huge opportunity where he can make a name for himself on the field.

“I feel very prepared,” Manning said. “I didn’t have a lot of setbacks in my career as far as my freshman and sophomore year, and I got a little bit more playing time on the field last year. But this year I feel really confident.”

If Oregon’s defense is going to be as dominant as many people project with Dan Lanning and Tosh Lupoi at the helm, then an unproven secondary is going to need to prove early on that they can fly rather than flounder. We’ve seen Gonzalez prove himself during his time with the Colorado Buffaloes, but many eyes will be pointed to his adversary across the field.

Will Manning step up when the team needs him? That’s not something we will know for sure until September rolls around. At the moment, though, fans should just be happy that he will be healthy enough to try.

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Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire