The Chicago Bears today opened the practice windoe for rookie Kevin White. He can now practice with the team, which has three weeks from today to decide whether to activate White, who had surgery for a stress fracture in his left shin back in August, or place him on injured reserve.
White stretched with his teammates today but then left the field with team trainers.
“It felt real good," White said after practice. "I haven’t been out there since like June, well August. But it’s good to be back, just progressing and take it day-by-day, but definitely it was fun being out there with those guys.”
While his return to practice is a step in the right direction, White admitted he still has to heal further.
“[The shin] is not back to normal, not just yet. But it’s definitely better than it was two weeks ago or than it was last week," he said. "It’s getting stronger and I’m getting more comfortable with it. So I guess that’s all I can ask for.
“I want to get a lot of strength back in my quad, just get comfortable with running routes again. Just being back out there, just getting accustomed back to the game, really just to be back playing with my guys.”
His healing process has taken longer than originally predicted and few believe he'll actually play this season. Yet White said he's still hopeful to get on the field his rookie year.
“I hope so. Yeah, there’s a chance. I’m not closing the door on anything. I’ve just got to be smart with it. If I’m feeling good and I’m ready to go, then I guess we’ll have to see.”
The Bears would like for White to play this year, for experience if nothing else. Yet the team isn't going to force him on the field if he's not ready.
"I don’t want to do something that will set me back," White said. "But I don’t want to just not do anything at all and not progress. The trainers and strength staff is working with me a lot, just getting my mechanics back. It’s a little off, but not too far.”
He said he's not yet running at full speed.
“I would like to say I’m running somewhere around [full speed], but myself compared to how I used to run, no.”
When asked if it was realistic to think he can return this year, White stayed optimistic.
“Just taking it day-by-day. I would like for it to happen. If it doesn’t happen I’ve got to roll with the punches.”