After an initial five-week recovery period, New Orleans Saints veteran center Max Unger is ready to take the next step in his return from foot surgery this spring.
Unger, who had a surgical procedure to repair a space in the Lisfranc area of his foot, said Wednesday the next phase of his rehab will be a walking boot.
After that is a return to the practice field sometime in August, and if all goes well, he will take his usual spot in the starting lineup for the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 11.
Saints coach Sean Payton said earlier this spring that he thought Unger would return late in the exhibition season and Unger reiterated that Wednesday when he met with reporters.
"Surgery this time of year is obviously not what you want, but this is an injury that just kind of developed," Unger said. "The No. 1 thing is we got it fixed, and hopefully, I'll be able to come back Week 1."
The nine-year veteran injured his foot against the Detroit Lions last fall, but doctors thought the space in the bones of the foot would heal on its own. But a re-examination in the early spring indicated that surgery was necessary.
"This had potential long-term consequences, so it wasn't really an option of whether to get it fixed or not," Unger said. "The procedure went well, so it's the best you can hope for."
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