N'Keal Harry, Byron Pringle injuries put Bears' WR corps back in danger zone

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Harry, Pringle injuries show how thin margins are for Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST -- Just like that, the Bears' wide receiving corps is back under the microscope.

The first eight days of training camp offered a glimpse into the pecking order out wide. Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones Jr., Byron Pringle, and N'Keal Harry were likely to fall in behind Darnell Mooney on the depth chart. Dante Pettis and Dazz Newsome were on the bubble, likely battling for the lone remaining roster spot at the position.

The Bears' receiving corps, while still unimpressive, at least had stability.

That might be gone now.

On Saturday, Harry caught a pass on the first snap of team drills and had his ankle rolled up on by Nicholas Morrow. The Bears didn't have an update on Harry, but NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Harry has a high ankle sprain and will see a specialist. Harry could miss anywhere from six to eight weeks if the diagnosis is correct.

Harry isn't the only receiver down.

Pringle has a quad injury that head coach Matt Eberflus said would take some time to heal. Eberflus did say he is optimistic the injury won't keep Pringle out into the regular season. Time will tell.

Jones Jr. and Pettis are also currently out with what the Bears deem "day-by-day" injuries, with no timeline for their returns.

That leaves the Bears with Mooney, St. Brown, Newsome, Tajae Sharpe, Nsimba Webster, Chris Finke, David Moore, Isaiah Coulter, and Kevin Shaa.

Quarterback Justin Fields operated the offense this weekend without four of his expected top six receivers. While he modified the operation to move the chains, the passing game sputtered when the Bears' secondary was able to cover up Mooney and St. Brown.

Harry hadn't been anything special through a week-and-a-half, but the former first-round pick did seem to be coming on before the injury. He made several nice catches over the middle of the field during a successful two-minute drill the day before.

Pringle hadn't had the best camp. The wide receiver admitted he is still trying to get on the same page with Fields, especially in the scramble drill. Even if he's back for Week 1, he'll lose valuable on-field time where he and Fields could improve their chemistry.

The loss of Harry and Pringle put an even brighter spotlight on Fields' top two receivers, Mooney and St. Brown.

The Bears already couldn't afford the loss of Mooney. He's their best offensive weapon, and his chemistry with Fields is as good as ever. There's a chance he'll see upward of 170 targets this season. St. Brown is well-versed in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's scheme and has developed an excellent bond with Fields, especially in the red zone.

If one of them goes down, the dam will break.

It's Aug. 8, so this could resolve itself by Week 1 with everyone but Harry back. But it shows just how thin the margins are for the Bears this season. A few injuries to an already questionable receiving group and the season and Fields' development will be in peril.

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