Unfortunately, injuries have started to take its toll on Chicago’s offensive line — yet again — where all but one starter has dealt with an injury at some point this summer. And there are a couple currently working through an injury with the regular season just around the corner.
Let’s take a look at the current state of the Bears’ offensive line heading into the preseason finale:
Somebody knock on wood, because second-year left tackle Braxton Jones is the only starting Bears offensive lineman not to be impacted by injury this summer. Jones appears healthy and ready to go for Week 1 against the Packers.
The Bears had managed to avoid major injuries this summer, but that changed with left guard Teven Jenkins. Jenkins suffered what Adam Schefter reported are calf strains in both legs, and he’s expected to be sidelined at least six weeks.
Head coach Matt Eberflus said Jenkins is considered “week-to-week” where “it’s bigger than a day-to-day, and that’s all we’re going to disclose at this time.”
With Jenkins expected to be sidelined through the first month of the regular season, the Bears need to find his replacement — and it sounds like that guy is already on the roster.
Whitehair has a right-hand injury that Eberflus described as “day to day,” suffered during joint practice with the Colts. Still, his prognosis is encouraging, and the expectation is he’ll be good to go for the regular season opener.
While Whitehair made the switch from left guard to center this offseason, it sounds like he’s moving back to left guard with Jenkins out. When the Bears took the practice field this week without Jenkins, Whitehair was spotted back at left guard with Lucas Patrick at center.
“We know what [Whitehair] can do at guard,” Eberflus said. “That’s his position. He was playing there today. We like where he is. His hand is not a big issue, but we’ll see where it goes. He’s a day-to-day guy in terms of that. We hope it heals fast. We certainly like him at center and we like him at guard. It’s good to have the combination and the flexibility to do both.”
Free-agent addition Nate Davis missed a couple of weeks of training camp with an undisclosed injury, but he’s since been back at practice in a ramp-up period. The expectation is he’ll be good to go for the start of the regular season, and we could possibly see him as early as Saturday’s preseason finale.
Status: Ramping up
As if Jenkins’ injury wasn’t bad enough, Bears rookie right tackle Darnell Wright left Tuesday’s practice with a trainer after apparently rolling his ankle. Eberflus was asked about Wright after practice, but he didn’t have an immediate update or timetable for return.
“I have not gotten clarity on that yet,” Eberflus said. “I don’t know exactly what that is.”
At this point, we don’t know the extent of his injury. After all, there are still three weeks before the opener against the Packers. But it’s something worth monitoring heading into this final week of the preseason.
Lucas Patrick is the unofficial sixth starting offensive lineman for Chicago, as he’s the key reserve along the interior. While Patrick has been sidelined for a few weeks with an undisclosed injury, he returned to practice in limited fashion as he ramps up.
“It’s just more about getting his endurance back, getting him into individual [drills],” Eberflus said. “He did some team reps, and we’ll see where it goes.”
The expectation is Patrick will be ready for the start of the season, which is good news considering Jenkins will be sidelined for a few weeks. With Jenkins out, Whitehair could be back at left guard with Patrick sliding in at center.
Status: Ramping up
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