The Chicago Bears cannot get healthy along the offensive line.
LG Matt Slauson (ankle) and C Roberto Garza (ankle) have been on the shelf since sustaining their injuries in Week 1. Slauson is expected to return this week, while Garza will likely miss at least one more week.
Slauson’s return couldn’t come at a better time, as his replacement, Michael Ola, will shift outside to left tackle where he’ll start in place of Jermon Bushrod (knee/ankle), who has been ruled out of Sunday’s contest against the Carolina Panthers.
Bushrod had MRIs on both his ankle and foot this week. Both came back negative, meaning he won’t need surgery and he’ll return this season.
"It’s just something that I have to deal with. One day at a time," said Bushrod. :Certain people deal with things a certain way. I just have to deal with the day-to-day and seeing if I can’t get it feeling good every single day. That’s my goal. That’s my plan. And I’m going to be out here as soon as I can."
Bushrod, who was in a walking boot on his right leg today, classified his injury as “nothing crazy.” Sunday will be the first game Bushrod has missed since 2009.
“You want the quarterback’s backside to be protected and as we’ve gone into it I think that the move is right now that Mike (Ola) will be over there [at left tackle] if Matt is playing,” coach Marc Trestman said today. “Mike got a lot of work over there anyways to be where we could certainly have him starting there and have him play the guard position as well. We’ve moved them around this week but the hope is that Matt will be playing and Mike will be at left tackle.”
For his part, Ola said the time spent in training camp bouncing from position to position has prepared him for this move.
“When I came in during training camp, that was pretty much my mindset. I didn't know where I was going to be for the day. So, guard was a flavor of the day or tackle, it was just fluid and bouncing around,” Ola said. “So that kind of helped me from this position I'm in right now, to be able to just know whatever, however my number is called, that's how I will perform.”
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.