Colts' Freeney loves long walks on beach -- for his improving ankle

For Dwight Freeney, South Florida is the perfect locale for a Super Bowl -- and a sore ankle.

The Indianapolis Colts' All-Pro defensive end said he has been walking around barefoot and along the sandy beach outside the team's hotel to strengthen his sprained right ankle. It might be enough to get him into Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

"Sometimes walking is good because it keeps things fluid," Freeney said Wednesday, when he and cornerback Jerraud Powers were the only Colts to miss practice. "You hear people say he should be in a boot or something. But sometimes it can get stiff, and you've got to get that motion back in the ankle. It gets the blood flowing, so I've been walking around barefoot and in the sand."

Try doing that in Indianapolis this time of year.

Freeney is questionable for the game in Miami after he tore a ligament in the ankle with about 2 minutes left in the Colts' 30-17 AFC Championship Game victory over the New York Jets. Since then, Freeney, considered one of the NFL's top pass rushers, has tried almost everything -- ice, oxygen chambers, even chiropractors -- to become healthy enough to play.

"It's better than yesterday, and yesterday was better than the day before," Freeney said. "It's a slow progression right now, but that's where it is. Every morning I wake up, and it feels a little better."

Powers also is questionable because of a left foot injury that he said he sustained during the first quarter of the divisional-round game against the Baltimore Ravens. By the third quarter, he had a painful bruise on the right side of the foot, which made it difficult to play. Powers didn't play in the AFC Championship Game.

Colts coach Jim Caldwell said the rookie is improving, and Powers insisted he will play in the Super Bowl.

"It's coming along fine," Powers said. "I'm starting to cut and move on it, and there's no doubt in my mind that I'll be out there Sunday. I'm not sure about practice. I'm pretty sure the doctors will be pretty conservative about that."

If Powers does play, it would give the Colts' secondary a big boost against the league's top-ranked offense. Powers started most of the season opposite Kelvin Hayden. Another rookie, Jacob Lacey, has replaced both players when they were injured. With Powers in the lineup, Lacey would primarily play in nickel packages.

Freeney finished the season with 13.5 sacks and combined with Pro Bowl pick Robert Mathis to form one of the league's top pass-rushing combinations. All Freeney can do now is wait and see how things turn out.

"I hope to be myself," Freeney said. "Or as close to myself as I can be."

Notes:Peyton Manning completed all of his nine passes and threw for a touchdown against the scout team's nickel defense in the Colts' practice at the Miami Dolphins' facility. ... Colts players didn't wear pads in practice. "We've played 22 games this year," Caldwell said. "I want them to be nice and hungry come Sunday. If they needs pads this time of year ..." ... The Colts listed 19 players on their injury report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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