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Chargers LB Denzel Perryman primed for first career start

SAN DIEGO -- With inside linebacker Manti Te'o not practicing all week due to an ankle injury, rookie Denzel Perryman likely will get his first career start against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Te'o was listed as questionable on the San Diego Chargers' final injury report Friday. But Perryman practiced all week as if he will be the starter next to inside linebacker Donald Butler and take over defensive play-calling duties.

Through five games, Te’o is San Diego’s leading tackler with 41, serving as the player wearing the green dot on his helmet and making the defensive play calls during the regular season.

Selected in the second round of this year’s draft by the Chargers out of the University of Miami, Perryman has looked solid in limited snaps defensively, and leads the Chargers in special teams tackles with six.

“My mindset has always been a ‘next man up’ mentality,” Perryman said. “Even when I got here I always prepared as if I was the starter, and that’s something I learned early in college. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and this week has gone pretty smooth for me.”

Five players have been ruled out by the Chargers, including starting left tackle King Dunlap (concussion), starting center Chris Watt (concussion, groin), cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring), defensive lineman Darius Philon (hip, thigh) and linebacker Tourek Williams (foot).

Slot receiver Stevie Johnson did not practice all week due to a hamstring injury and is doubtful.

Starting left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) and swing tackle Chris Hairston (ankle) returned to practice as limited participants Friday and are questionable, as is starting right guard D.J. Fluker (ankle).

Rookie linebacker Kyle Emanuel (shoulder) was a full participant Friday and is probable.

For a third straight week, the Chargers could struggle to field 46 healthy players, but head coach Mike McCoy said that won’t change his approach Sunday.

“It’s a long football season,” McCoy said. “It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish it. So we’re looking to improve week in and week out. We understand the importance of this football game. And our goal every week is going to be 1-0 at the end of each week.”