NEW ORLEANS -- Max Unger could be back on the field sooner than thought.

According to a report from The New Orleans Advocate, Saints' Center Max Unger's foot injury may not be as bad as initially feared.

Initial reports said that a lingering problem with Unger's foot could force him to start the season on the physicall unable to perform list, but Head Coach Sean Payton said the offensive lineman could be back with the team as soon as the third preseason game.

X-rays from last season showed a space in the Lisfranc area of Unger's foot and doctors believed the injury would heal with time, according to Payton. However, when Unger returned for offseason workout, the space had gotten larger and doctors inserted a screw into his foot to help it heal.

If placed on the PUP list, Unger would have missed the first six games of the Saints regular season.