David Banks/USA TODAY Sports

Bears center Hroniss Grasu ready to return to action

Bears rookie center Hroniss Grasu says he's ready to return to the starting lineup this week against the Broncos.

Chicago Bears rookie center Hroniss Grasu is finally seeing the light at the end of his injury tunnel after being listed as probable for Sunday’s game against Denver.

“It's been tough,” Grasu said on Friday. “I wanted to be able to go out there and play weeks ago but I had a neck injury and you don’t want to mess around with that. You want to be very certain that everything has healed properly.”

Grasu was hurt while preparing for the Vikings game the last week of October. He said he's still not certain what happened to cause the problem. There was no physical contact involved but he did feel an immediate twinge while reaching for a block.

“The medical staff and our trainers were all over that,” Grasu said. “What I noticed immediately was that it limited my mobility  As a center your head has to be on a swivel, ready to turn wherever on very short notice. That was something I was unable to do until very recently.”

A milestone for Grasu was being able to put on his helmet on Wednesday.

“It was a huge step forward," he said. "The helmet's weight there on my head felt right and I was very comfortable.”

Veteran gaurd Matt Slauson filled in at center in Grasu's absence and the rookie lauded Slauson’s ability to seemlessly change positions.

“What a stud. What a great guy and an all-around player,” said Grasu. “It's not an easy job to switch around like that, yet he looked as if he’d been doing it all of his life. Great skill there and it really helped our team.”

Grasu said he’s been patient throughout the rehab process but was getting anxious to be cleared to play.

“I feel that my physical skills have come back, now I just need to rebuild my confidence. As a rookie you dread any kind of physical setback but if it happens, you deal with it, get through it, and hopefully return much stronger than you were to begin with. I’ve had tremendous support throughout this from my teammates and the Bears' staff.”

Grasu was optimistic about returning to the starting lineup this week to face a stout Denver Broncos front seven.

“That’s a tough group. They really can come at you but if I am back this weekend, our guys will be able to go back to their regular positions and that should help stabilize the O-line. They’ve been doing a great job as evidenced by the results of recent games but I think everybody is happier generally if they are back in the positions that they are most accustomed to playing.”

And what about Cutler’s recent success?

“The guy’s a beast,” Grasu said. “So tough. A real leader of this team. It's great to see what he is able to accomplish out there on a regular basis. It's an honor to be on the same field with him. I’d be thrilled to be back this weekend playing with all these guys.”


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