Chargers rookie LB Manti Te’o out for week with foot sprain
Te’o hasn’t been much of a participant in team practices since he was spotted wearing a walking boot this weekend.
"Manti has a foot sprain and he will be out this week and I will give you any further updates as the week goes on, or next week," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said after Saturday morning practices. "But he will be out for the week."
McCoy wouldn’t say how exactly Te’o sustained the foot injury after playing so briefly in his preseason debut. While McCoy said Te’o sustained the injury after the game, he failed to mention anything as such in Friday’s news conference.
"As of right now, no one has reported any serious injuries from last night,” McCoy said back then. “I haven't sat down with our trainer yet, but I will in a little bit."
The player himself was also not available for comment, though the team indicated he will speak to the media on Monday.
As a second-round pick, Te’o has consistently practiced with the starters at one of the Chargers' two inside linebacker positions since arriving in San Diego back in May. During Thursday’s 31-10 loss to Seattle, Te’o played nine snaps with the Chargers' starting defense, though he recorded no stats in that limited action. Te’o exited the game when the Chargers switched to their nickel defense, with an extra defensive back.
In Te’o’s absence, Bront Bird took first-team preps at inside linebacker alongside Donald Butler. The second-year linebacker Bird had 18 tackles and an interception over five games with the Chargers last season.
"Bront is one of those guys who can come in and make plays," veteran linebacker Butler said. "Obviously, he had that pick last year in Pittsburgh, which I thought was a heck of a play. He's a solid guy for us."
However, as long the foot injury doesn’t keep him sidelined for more than a week or two, Te’o is in no real danger of losing his starting job as an inside linebacker. He is only expected to miss a week, including the Chargers’ second game of the preseason at Chicago next Thursday.
"I think any player is disappointed when they have a little injury that is going to keep him out for a little bit," McCoy said of Te'o's reaction to being forced to sit out a week. "But it's part of the game and he will do whatever he can to get back on the field as quickly as possible."