Wearing a walking boot on his left leg, Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea sat out Sunday’s practice with a sprained ankle he sustained during Saturday’s workout.
“It is what it is,” said the 2011 second-round draft pick from Oregon State. “It’s football. You get hurt and you just have to stay on top of it and come back.”
Having recovered from offseason knee surgery, Paea had been having an excellent training camp, supplanting veteran Matt Toeaina as the starting nose tackle.
“It’s competition every day,” Paea said. “As far as I see it, I’ve got to come back and I’ve got to compete for it again. It [stinks] to go back and start over again, but we’ll see.”
According to coach Lovie Smith, Paea’s injury won’t hurt his chances of starting this season.
“He’s out right now with that ankle sprain, but as far as a setback, no, we’ve seen enough,” Smith said. “We like what he did at the end of the season last year. He’s a good football player. Eventually we’ll get him back out there and he’s going to play good ball for us this year.”
Inactive the first five games of his rookie season in 2011, Paea recorded a safety on his second NFL snap when he sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone in a win over the Vikings. Paea finished his first season with 18 tackles, two sacks and two tackles-for-loss.
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