Kevin White’s season could be over.
It was announced today that White will go on IR after re-fracturing the same left shin that caused him to miss last season. At this time, the two injuries appear to be unrelated. Via Brad Biggs:
#Bears WR Kevin White has a severe high ankle sprain that resulted in a fractured fibula. Team seeking more opinions. Surgery possible.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) October 5, 2016
For now, it is unknown whether White will require surgery to repair the injury. He will be eligible to return in 8 weeks.
The former 7th overall pick finally looked comfortable and effective in Sunday’s win over the Lions, posting six catches for 55 yards. Aside from the stats, he was making himself available for Brian Hoyer early in the game, running solid routes, and bringing serious aggression to defenders when he had the ball in his hands.
So, naturally, he got injured in the middle of the best game of his young career.
Earlier in the day, NFL.com/NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport broke the news that White’s left ankle injury looks to be fairly serious and likely would keep him sidelined for multiple weeks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 5, 2016
At the time, the injury was said to affect White’s ankle rather than the surgically reinforced shin in the same leg that forced the rookie to miss all of last season.
However, the diagnosis of “high ankle sprain” led many to fear bad news, especially after the Bears declined to reveal anything regarding the MRI results despite likely having an idea as to the severity of the injury by yesterday at least.
While it’s typically been John Fox’s MO to keep injury news as secret as possible, the radio silence regarding White’s injury, which ran counter to their handling of Eddie Goldman, Jeremy Langford, and even Jay Cutler’s injuries, felt as if they were trying to figure out how best to break bad news as Bryan Perez from Bearswire suggested yesterday (see below).
I wrote this about Kevin White's injury yesterday. Looks like we're going to be hearing some bad news today: https://t.co/2KYYrmaSDX
— Bryan Perez (@BryanPerezNFL) October 5, 2016
It’s a tough setback for a player that desperately needed a healthy season after not seeing any NFL action in his first year as a Bear.
Battling a steep learning curve throughout training camp and his first few regular season game—running incorrect routes that lead to interceptions, dropping throws, struggling to uncover against NFL defensive backs—he appeared to be establishing a rapport with Brian Hoyer, who targeted him 21 times in his first two starts at quarterback as opposed to getting 13 targets (still respectable) from Cutler.
In his absence, it will likely be up to Alshon Jeffery, who has been somewhat neglected by Hoyer (12 targets to White’s 21), and Eddie Royal, who is coming off a seven-catch, 111-yard, one TD game, to step up in his absence. Zach Miller, who has now caught three TDs in his last two games, could also be in line for more work if Hoyer continues to start.
Interestingly, White’s uncertain health also means that the Bears are likely still no closer to solving the dilemma that is Jeffery’s future with the team. Though Jeffery has not had a breakout season in his contract year as yet, though that’s hardly his fault, can the Bears afford to let him leave in free agency if White cannot truly establish himself as a potential #1 receiver/can’t stay on the field?
Only good news about the Kevin White injury is the fact this may give the #Bears more clarity on Jeffery. Almost becomes a must re-sign.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) October 5, 2016
But that’s a question that can better be answered later…
For now, let’s hope for a quick recovery for White and that, when he does return, he can quickly regain the momentum that he’s now lost.