Maybe the Chicago Bears are getting closer to having a healthier start to the 2017 season after all:
- Things were looking quite grim after the first injury report of the season, but what a difference a day can make. Left guard Kyle Long (ankle) and wide receiver Markus Wheaton (pinkie finger) were limited in Thursday’s practice – but that’s an upgrade from being kept off the practice field altogether (especially because both players are expected to play impact roles for the Bears this season). A healthy Long would keep center Cody Whitehair in place, thus bringing the interior line to full strength. It has been far from smooth sailing for Wheaton in his first season with the team, but his presence at receiver would be welcomed with open arms after Cam Meredith’s season-ending ACL injury.
- Joining Long and Wheaton on the practice field was inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, who is about nine months removed from a patellar tendon tear that ended his season. Head coach John Fox says Trevathan is “ready to go” and expects him to be a big part of the team’s defensive plans as we get the season started.
- There is more positive news to report on the injury front, as safety Eddie Jackson (hamstring) was a full participant in Thursday’s practice. Jackson is the only rookie starter on the Bears’ roster, but a defensive back nursing a groin injury days before facing off against quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones, and other big play offensive targets Atlanta has on its roster is less than ideal. But Jackson’s full participation means he’s good to go for Sunday.
- Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like the same can be said regarding Prince Amukamara. Projected to be the Bears’ top cornerback, Amukamara did not participate in Thursday’s practice, which could be a sign that he won’t quite be ready to suit up on Sunday against the Falcons. Losing Amukamara for the team’s Week 1 battle against the defending NFC champs would be a huge blow for the Bears, so we’ll get into this in greater depth later today. Stay tuned.
- And finally, Adam Hoge of WGN Radio has the full injury report, which lists linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) and defensive end Jonathan Bullard (glute) among those who were limited participants. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio believes it would be difficult to expect the kind of production McPhee posted in Baltimore after two knee operations in two years, but it will still be nice to be able to throw him in the mix of pass rushers. Bullard’s emergence in the preseason is a factor GM Ryan Pace took into consideration when the team parted ways with Jaye Howard, so his health is important to the Bears’ front seven, too.