Patchwork front

When guard Mike Gandy returned from arthroscopic knee surgery to workouts, the Bears figured to have virtually their entire offensive line intact for this week's organized training activities.

Instead, they were down a man at tackle Tuesday due to a strained right groin muscle suffered by free agent tackle acquisition John Tait.

The injury is not expected to be anything troublesome, but it's typical of the health misfortune which has plagued the Bears' offensive line.

Gandy, who had hoped to compete with Qasim Mitchell for starting left tackle, suffered a knee injury which required surgery prior to the Bears' final minicamp April 30-May 2. The line already was without tackle Marc Colombo, who hasn't played since his rookie year of 2002 due to problems coming back from two knee surgeries. Colombo continues to work out at Halas Hall, although he doesn't participate in team drills. There is no word yet on whether the first-round draft pick will be ready for the start of training camp July 28.

Although Tait's injury is considered minor, the Bears have not had good experience with similar injuries in the past. Safety Mike Green suffered a groin strain late last season and was unable to work out until April. Even then, he was held out of some off-season practices.


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