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Still Waiting To See Manti Te’o, But Chargers Have Healthy Lineup Going Into Texans’ Battle

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By Dave Thomas

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24:  Inside linebacker Manti Te'o #50 of the San Diego Chargers warms up before the preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With several major injuries in the preseason, the San Diego Chargers may have been finished before they even started the 2013 campaign. That being said, several players look like they will get to see action this season despite some nasty injuries.

The season, which kicks off Monday evening when the Bolts play host to the Houston Texans, will be the first one under new head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco.

Heading into the 2013 campaign, the Chargers are looking to get off the playoff snide, having missed the postseason the last three years, this on the heels of winning four straight AFC West Division crowns. With Denver firmly planted as the division’s top team, just having a winning season and sneaking into the playoffs via the wild card would probably make a majority of Bolt fans happy.

In order for the Chargers to make a run at the Broncos and the playoffs this season, health will obviously be a determining factor.

Before the Chargers even had the chance to kick off against the Texans, a pair of players expected to contribute, linebacker Jonas Mouton and wide receiver Danario Alexander, both went down with season-ending ACL tears.

A pair of the more notable injuries besides those to Mouton and Alexander in preseason camp were setbacks for rookie linebacker Manti Te’o and veteran wide receiver Malcom Floyd.

When Will Te’o Take the Field?

Te’o, who came to the Chargers following his whirlwind senior season at Notre Dame, could be a pleasant surprise this fall if he can stay healthy. Te’o may have gone in last spring’s NFL Draft later than some expected (38th overall pick, second round), but he may have landed with the best situation possible.

After all the fanfare that Te’o had gotten while with the Fighting Irish, coming to a city that isn’t Philadelphia, New York, Chicago etc. may be just what he needed. Now, can he stay healthy for the Bolts?

As of Friday afternoon, Te’o had not practiced this week, this after suffering a foot injury last month. Te’o is likely not to see action when the Bolts hit the field Monday evening. Assuming Te’o doesn’t play, look for Bront Bird to get the start at inside linebacker.

Floyd Key at Wide Receiver Position

Meantime, many Charger fans are still moaning about the departure of wide receiver Vincent Jackson a year ago (Tampa Bay). Even though it was generally felt that Jackson wanted too much money (he got a $55 million deal to take his talents to the Bucs) to stay in San Diego, he was no doubt the best offensive weapon in the air that quarterback Philip Rivers had to work with.

With Jackson gone, it was hoped that University of Wyoming product Floyd would be the go-to guy.

While Floyd had respectable numbers in 2012 (56 receptions, 814 yards and five TD’s), he has yet to showcase himself as the go-to man at the position. A knee injury during this preseason didn’t exactly help his case.

The good news, however, is that Floyd participated in practice both Thursday and Friday, meaning he more than likely will get playing time against Houston.

Lastly, the Chargers noted that defensive end Corey Liuget (shoulder), wide receiver/kick returner Eddie Royal (head) and corner Shareece Wright (chest) all participated in Thursday and Friday practices. Wright is especially important given the off-season departures of veteran secondary guys Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason.

If the Chargers can come to battle close to fully prepared Monday evening, upsetting the Texans (Houston is a 3.5 favorite) may not seem like such a tall order afterwards.

For more news and updates, visit San Diego Chargers central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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