After losing Cameron Meredith and Patrick Scales to serious knee injuries on Sunday, the Chicago Bears hope to avoid a similar fate with cornerback Prince Amukamara.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports Amukamara was expected to have an MRI performed on his injured ankle Monday. Amukamara left the field after the first play from scrimmage and did not return. After the game, Amukamara was seen in a walking boot on his right foot. He was one of five players who left with an injury during Sunday’s win against the Tennessee Titans.
If he is healthy, Amukamara is lined up to be a key member of a revamped Bears secondary that has eyes on improving on a record-low number of turnovers. The Bears parted ways with Tracy Porter in the offseason, moved Kyle Fuller down the depth chart, watched Bryce Callahan and Cre’von LeBlanc work into roles as nickel defenders, and signed Amukamara and Marcus Cooper in free agency to round out the group.
However, it’s a bit unsettling knowing both free agent additions have had injury issues this summer. If you’ll recall, Cooper missed some time in OTAs and in training camp because of a hamstring issue – but he has played in all three of the team’s preseason games. And it’s not as if Amukamara hasn’t had his share of injury woes. He hasn’t played a full season since 2013 and has missed a total of 15 games over the last three years. Despite recent injury woes, Amukamara has earned grades of 75 or better from Pro Football Focus in each of the last three seasons. So if he’s healthy, the Bears will be playing a starting caliber corner with experience and a bit of upside – he’s only 28, after all.
If Amukamara misses time, the door will open a bit wider for Kyle Fuller. Chosen with the 14th selection in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Fuller became a bit of an afterthought this offseason when the Bears signed Amukamara, Cooper, and B.W. Webb in free agency. But a year after a knee injury cost him the entire season, Fuller has been a healthy participant throughout the Bears’ offseason training programs and into the preseason. Fuller’s roster spot feels safe for now, and he could prove to be a valuable piece if injuries continue to flare up as the season progresses.
The Bears’ first team defense has been stellar during the preseason, allowing just one offensive touchdown through three games. Things become increasingly more difficult when the regular season gets underway. Vic Fangio’s defense will square off against receivers such as Julio Jones (Falcons), Mike Evans (Buccaneers), Antonio Brown (Steelers), Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb (Packers) … and that’s just the first four games in September.
Things were already tough, but any injuries that keep a Bears starting cornerback on the sidelines will further complicate matters.