Injuries Mount

In what had been a quiet training camp over the first few days has quickly turned into a mash unit. First, Mike Brown went down with a broken hand on Tuesday. Then on Friday Chicago had two more players hurt during drills. Starting right guard Chris Villarrial apparently fractured his right thumb and wide receiver Ahmad Merritt fractured his right hand during morning practice.

However, the severity of Villarrial's and Merritt's broken bones is much worse than Brown. X-rays were still being evaluated late Friday, but coach Dick Jauron said the club is not optimistic about either player.

Villarrial's injury, which occurred in the nine-on-seven running drill, could cost the Bears six or seven weeks without a key member of an offensive line that gave up a league low 17 sacks last season. The 6-3, 310-pounder also anchored the running game, while starting 62 of 64 games over the past four seasons.

For the time being, rookie third-round draft pick Terrence Metcalf will fill in for Villarrial. Leaving the Bears with two inexperienced players on the offensive line to start the season.

He was injured on a running play and it came just one play Merritt had made a diving catch along the sidelines. He could miss as many as 10 weeks. There has been talk of placing him on injured reserve meaning he would miss the entire season.

Also, backup center Kevin Dogins was sidelined with a strained right side and is listed as day-to-day, and veteran cornerback Floyd Young, signed this off-season from Tampa Bay, was released with an injury settlement.


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