AFTER a blitz of publicity, David Beckham's LA Galaxy debut is threatening to fall flat.
The English soccer superstar may miss his Galaxy debut in a friendly match against Chelsea on Saturday, as he is still nursing an ankle injury.
In his first training session with his new club on Monday, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder was limited to some stretching and kicking drills.
Galaxy coach Frank Yallop said Beckham's progress will be monitored daily.
'His ankle is quite swollen,' said Yallop. 'We're hoping it recovers quickly and he can have some part in (Saturday's) game.'
Beckham didn't speak to reporters after practice.
He originally hurt his left ankle playing for England in a European Championship Qualifier last month and it flared up again two weeks later in his final Spanish league game with Real Madrid.
The Chelsea match, part of the four-team World Series of Football, is sold out and ESPN will televise the game live, using 19 cameras to track Beckham.
On Monday, Beckham smiled and waved to 1,000 fans who attended the open training session three days after his confetti-filled introduction at the stadium.
Several of his No.23 jerseys - currently LA's hottest fashion trend - were spotted in the stands.
'It's insane,' said Galaxy defender Quaras Kirk.
'It's like a circus. Obviously, we're not used to it, but it's great.'
Beckham's new teammates did the bulk of the work in training while he alternately sat on the field watching, his left ankle taped, and stretched in front of flashing camera lenses.
Landon Donovan, the Galaxy's resident star before Beckham arrived, stressed the former England captain won't be able to lift the team's fortunes on his own.
'It's not basketball, where one player can make a massive, massive difference,' said the American international forward.
'While David is a very good player, we have to play well to make that work.'
Donovan said the team was 'grateful' for the onslaught of worldwide attention its new addition has generated.
'It's better than the alternative,' he said.
Clearly, a feeling out process was under way for Beckham and his teammates, some of whom were taken aback by the screaming fans and horde of journalists - elements absent from typical practices.
'He's used to this kind of hoopla and attention, but we're not,' goalkeeper Joe Cannon said.
'But he's been a gentleman, a good guy in the locker room. Anyone who comes in with so much hype surrounding him, you don't feel bad for the guy, but we understand and let him do his thing.'
Already, the team has teased Beckham about his famous bending free-kicks.
'When we do get a free-kick, we joke around, 'Hey, David, let me take this one,' Cannon said.
Beckham's physical state, however, is the top concern on the minds of his teammates, fans, sponsors and TV executives.
'He's getting better. He's still not 100 per cent,' said Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas.
'Yeah, we want him out there. He wants to play.
'But we have to remind people this is a human and not a robot.' - AP.