Bears' Darnell Mooney injury likely season-ending, but WR in 'good spirits'

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Mooney in 'good spirits' despite bad injury news originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On Monday, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus confirmed earlier reports that Darnell Mooney is likely headed towards season-ending surgery after he suffered an ankle injury in the second half of Sunday’s 31-10 loss to the Jets. It’s a big loss for both the Bears offense and the locker room, and it’s a step back in Mooney’s development as a wide receiver this year.

“He is our leading receiver,” Eberflus said. “But more importantly he is a great teammate. He’s a great leader. No one puts more yards in than Darnell Mooney. I’ll promise you that. He laps people. He doubles them up. That’s what the numbers tell me. His speed in his numbers are outstanding. He works extremely hard.”

Cole Kmet saw Mooney on Monday and said the third-year wide out was in “good spirits,” however.

“He's going to have a great attitude towards this,” Kmet said. “He's going to take this head on and he's going to work his tail off and know he's going to have a big comeback for sure.”

Kmet said Mooney’s attitude is infectious in the locker room. He’s an upbeat guy who stays positive, and others feed off of that energy.

“He just brings light in the room, a great leader, a dude that everyone seems to gravitate towards,” Kmet said. “So whenever you lose a guy like that in the huddle it's definitely tough for the team. And not only, obviously he's a great playmaker but just his attitude and how he approaches his day to day is just really special.”

Mooney leads the wide receiver room in catches (40) and yards (493), and the guys in second aren’t particularly close. Equanimeous St. Brown is next up in both departments, but is well behind with 14 receptions for 195 yards. At this point in the season, replacing Mooney’s production on the field will be tough. The team hopes they won’t have to replace his impact in the locker room.

“What I told him yesterday was just, ‘Hey, just hang in there,’” Eberflus said. “‘Things happen. Still be around. We want you to be around and be in that leadership role and helping the younger players out.’ He’s a great Bear for sure.”

Teammates know they’ll have to make sure they reciprocate and keep Mooney’s spirits high over the course of his rehab, too.

“He's going to have some down time,” Kmet said. “He was looking for a show to watch so I recommended ‘Yellowstone.’”

The way in which the Bears lost on Sunday一 losing by three touchdowns, and losing multiple key players to injury in the process一 can be incredibly demoralizing for a team. Add in the fact that it was the fifth loss in a row for the Bears, and it can feel like a rock bottom of sorts. But Eberflus said that’s not the case at Halas Hall right now.

“Guys are doing a really good job of sticking together. Morale is high in the room and the guys have their eyes forward looking to play the Packers this week.”

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