FT. LAUDERDALE -- Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney said on Tuesday that he doesn't know if he'll be ready to play in Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. And his ankle was the topic of almost every interview at Media Day - at least those related to football.
Freeney has a third-degree sprain of his right ankle that reportedly includes a torn ligament. He was limping noticeably as he entered and departed the Club Level of Sun Life Stadium wearing flip-flops but no protective wrapping on his ankle.
"I wake up every single morning thinking I'm healed, and then I wake up and take that first step," said Freeney. "I have a little bit more work to do, and I really just try to stay positive."
He said his availability for the game will likely be determined Friday or Saturday, when he hopes to get on the practice field and start testing the ankle with some spin moves.
"If I have to tweak my game, I've done it in the past where I've had injuries and I've had to tweak my game just a little bit to maybe protect it or go to whatever strength I have at that time. You just kind of have to freestyle it in the game."
If Freeney is unable to play, Raheem Brock said he will likely start on the left side, with Robert Mathis switching to the right. Mathis, who was a right end in college at Alabama A&M, said he often switches up with Freeney and is very comfortable at right end.
"If he is not in, we have to accommodate," said Mathis. "It has been a rotation all year so we can't deviate too far from that."
The person most affected will be Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who said he will spend extra time this week in the film room studying all of the Colts' pass rushers.
"You have to prepare for everyone's tendencies," said Bushrod.
The Saints were caught off guard in Week 15, when Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware played a big role in the Saints' first loss of the season just six days after being carted off the field with a neck injury.
Ware produced a pair of sacks working primarily against Bushrod and also forced two fumbles.
"We're not going to get caught in that trap again," said Bushrod. "I have to have the mindset that (Freeney) is going to play."