Rookie tackle Gabe Carimi, Chicago's first round pick this year, dislocated his kneecap in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints. He has not played since and practiced for just the first time last week. While the progress has been slow, Carimi says the knee is getting closer to 100 percent.
"Stability is fine, pain is low, so everything is coming along," he said today.
Carimi performed very well throughout the preseason and in the team's first two contests, and looked to be the big-bodied mauler Chicago felt he'd be when they drafted him. He was easily the most consistent player across the front five for the season's first few months.
T Gabe Carimi
It was expected that as soon as he was ready to return, the Bears' would insert back in at right tackle immediately. Yet it's expected that Chicago's coaches will keep him out at least one more week. The knee is not 100 percent and the team appears willing to take the cautious approach.
That leaves Lance Louis to start in his place. It will be his third start in a row on the right edge. Since replacing Frank Omiyale, who was amazingly ineffective, Louis has been solid. He started the year at right guard, the position at which he's expected to move back upon Carimi's return, yet has held his own on the outside, the first time in his NFL career he's played tackle.
Chris Spencer would again fill in at right guard for the third game in a row. He has also performed well inside -- arguably the best of any linemen the past two games. With Spencer and Louis getting the job done on the right side, the Bears see no reason to rush back Carimi, their franchise tackle.
--Wide receiver Earl Bennett has also been out since Week 2, when he suffered a chest contusion. He was medically cleared today to return to action. He will play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night as the team's third receiver, lining up mostly in the slot, where he's been extremely effective throughout his career.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.