Just 12 days away from the regular-season opener against the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears are a banged-up mess. For today’s practice, 14 players did not suit up and another left the field due to injury:
QB Jimmy Clausen (concussion)
RB Matt Forte, veteran day off (second in a row)
RB Senorise Perry (foot)
WR Alshon Jeffery (calf)
WR Eddie Royal (hip)
WR Marquess Wilson (hamstring)
OT Jermon Bushrod (back)
NT Eddie Goldman (concussion)
OLB Sam Acho (illness)
ILB Jon Bostic (ankle)
CB Tracy Porter (hamstring)
WR A.J. Cruz (foot, left practice)
Head coach John Fox did not elaborate on any of the injuries.
“As I’ve mentioned a lot of times, I’d prefer they’re out here, but until they’re cleared medically, I don’t have them,” he said today. “So again, I can’t predict what’s going to happen going forward other than day-to-day. So we’ll assess it and the plan is hopefully we get everybody ready for Green Bay.”
The biggest issue is Jeffery, who hasn’t practiced since the second week of training camp with what GM Ryan Pace called a “mild calf sprain.” He’s been listed as “day-to-day” for three weeks and has not been seen on the practice sidelines. Yet Royal and Wilson, Parts 2 and 3 of the wide receiver equation, have been on the field working with trainers this week. It appears they are on track for Week 1, while Jeffery’s status is still up in the air.
“He’s injured,” Fox said when pressed for details.
Another big concern is Bushrod. The club’s starting left tackle is dealing with a significant back issue and looked like a shell of his former self against the Bengals. If he doesn’t heal up soon, it’s going to be Charles Leno protecting quarterback Jay Cutler’s blindside, which is far from ideal.
Goldman’s absence is also a problem, as he’s expected to fill the club starting nose tackle role during Jeremiah Ratliff’s three-game suspension to start the season. And while we’re at it, Ratliff has an ankle injury, which is roughly the 42nd injury he’s had since coming to Chicago in 2013.
Clausen’s concussion creates another big challenge, as neither David Fales nor Shane Carden have looked NFL-ready in camp and the preseason. If Cutler goes down and Clausen is still on the mend, the Bears’ offense has no chance.
Yet despite all these injuries to significant players, Fox isn’t worried.
“I think it’s a sign we’re working hard,” he said. “I think we’re trying to get ready for that regular season. I’m not overly concerned. I’m concerned about everything. I’d rather have guys out there but the key right now is getting them to the regular season.”
And lest we forget, first-round rookie receiver Kevin White will miss at least six games, and likely the entire season, due to recent surgery on a stress fracture in his shin.
The Bears were exposed by the Bengals in the third preseason game as a team in the midst of a substantial rebuild. This rash of injuries, all coming before the club has played a single snap in the regular season, is only going to put this team further below the competitive bar.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.