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Manti Te'o (foot sprain) sheds walking boot but return uncertain

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Manti Te'o has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a right foot sprain suffered in a preseason game.

SAN DIEGO -- Rookie linebacker Manti Te'o continues to rebound from what the Chargers are describing as a sprained right foot.

His work on Monday came minus his cumbersome walking boot.

Te'o, the team's second-round pick who suffered his injury in the Aug. 8 preseason opener, has yet to return to practice.

But part of his side work with the team trainer is being done without a walking boot.

"He will be out there when he is ready to go," rookie coach Mike McCoy said, when asked if Te'o would return to practice this week.

"He's getting better every day and working extremely hard with James and the rest of the crew inside. When he's ready to be out there, he will be practicing."

It's not believed Te'o will play Saturday when the Chargers visit the Arizona Cardinals.

"The saying goes you don't know what you got until it's gone and it's only been a week and a half and I'm already itching to get back on the field," Te'o said.

"I'm getting all the mental reps, I'm taking the practice script with me and watching what plays are going and trying to play the plays in my head. Even though I'm not in there physically, I'm just as much in it mentally."

Te'o wouldn't predict when he'll be back practicing. But he seems to be getting closer, and that can't come too soon for last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up.

"You feel like you are the odd ball," Te'o said.

"But the hunger is there and I'm just getting more excited to get back out there with my guys."

Sitting is something new for Te'o, who was sidelined for last Thursday's exhibition loss in Chicago.

"I only missed one game in my life and that was when I was a junior in high school," said Te'o, who was working with the starters before getting hurt.

"Other than that, I played every game there was to play since I was 8 years old.

"I've been very blessed and this is another blessing for me to take advantage of the time I have out. It's a new playing field for me not being in the game, so I'm anxious to get back in.

"I've always prided myself in being out there; you're going to get your nicks and bruises in football and you have to learn how to play through it and I've been that type of player. But this is different and I understand it."

McCoy said wide receiver Eddie Royal, who suffered a bruised lung and concussion on Saturday, was back in the building Monday morning.

Defensive end Corey Liuget also didn't practice after getting hurt in Thursday's game.

"He has the shoulder deal and we will take that one day at a time," said McCoy.

Running back Danny Woodhead, who has an undisclosed injury, was practicing during the portion of the workout that is open to the reporters. He's missed both exhibition games.

Other key players not working were wide receiver Malcom Floyd (knee) and center Nick Hardwick (rest).

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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