Boot off, Te'o itching to get back on field

The Sports Xchange

The boot is off and San Diego rookie linebacker Manti Te'o hopes to make his debut when the Chargers open their season on Sept. 9 against the Houston Texans on "Monday Night Football."

Te'o, who sprained his foot during his first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 8, did not participate in Tuesday's practice He had been in a walking boot since hurting his foot. ON Tuesday, the boot came off.

"It's a step in the right direction and we're just taking it one step at a time," coach Mike McCoy said on Tuesday. "He's happy to have the boot off and be able to walk around. We've been able to move forward and start messing around with what sort of shoe he will be using moving forward."

Despite not practicing on Tuesday, there remains a chance Te'o still could suit up for the Chargers' opener. McCoy said he won't rule anything out when it comes to Te'o.

"It's going to be up to how his body recovers before the game on Monday night. ... He knows his body better than anyone so we will just take it one day at a time."

Te'o has missed three weeks of practice. The Chargers' second-round pick out of Notre Dame was impressive in the first few weeks of training camp.

Te'o recently told U-T San Diego he doubts the time off is eroding his game because watching practice has helped him prepare for when he finally does get back on the field.

He also said he knows how to play through the "nicks and bruises." Then he added: "This (injury) is different, and I understand it."