Kyle Long now has one fewer surgery to worry about recovering from this offseason.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Long has decided not to have offseason surgery to repair a partially torn labrum on his left shoulder. Long was originally supposed to undergo surgery earlier in February, but ultimately decided against it. Remember, Long was already playing through the shoulder injury when his ankle was injured in the team’s Nov. 13 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Moving forward, Long will continue rehabilitating his right ankle. Biggs reports “Long suffered ligament damage and basically tore everything but his Achilles tendon.”
Long could opt for shoulder surgery after the 2017 season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly, safety Ed Reed, linebacker Vic Beasley, and safety Taylor Mays are among recent examples of NFL players reportedly playing through torn labrum injuries. Even NBA star Anthony Davis and MLB shortstop J.J. Hardy have recently gutted it out to play through aching shoulder pain.
However, there isn’t much of a history with athletes playing through the kind of ankle injury Long suffered in 2016, so he will continue focusing on getting that healthier. Biggs describes getting the ankle back to full strength as “an extended process.”
Long’s healthy return in 2017 would go a long way toward improving the Bears’ overall offensive line play. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, with two of those appearances coming at the right guard spot. The interior of the Bears’ line is a strength that helped allow Jordan Howard to run his way to a Pro Bowl season of his own as a rookie, but the Bears will need a fully healthy line if he wants to duplicate that feat in 2017.