BOURBONNAIS- As the Chicago Bears work through their final week of training camp at Olivet Nazarene University, and prepare for their next preseason game (Thursday at Solider Field against the Jacksonville Jaguars), they do so while dealing with another list of injured players. The Bears already had a handful of bodies on the trainers table before last week’s preseason opener…. But after Friday’s exhibition win over the Philadelphia Eagles, there’s been both good news and bad news on the injury front.
First for the good news……
Although defensive end Jared Allen wasn’t on the injured list (his wife gave birth to a girl last week), he did miss significant practice time, and was held out of the Eagles game as a result. He will make his preseason debut this Thursday night along side fellow defensive line starters Lamar Houston, Stephen Paea, and Jeremiah Ratliff. He returned to the practice field on Sunday.
Safeties Chris Conte (shoulder) and Craig Steltz (groin) are no longer on the Physically Unable to Peform (PUP) list as they’ve both been practicing since Sunday. Conte made some news after intercepting a Jordan Palmer pass in practice on Monday, but he still has a long way to go to earn his old starting job back.
The Bears could definitely use Steltz’s abilities on special teams after the unit as a whole made a dismal showing against the Eagles last week. Offensive guard Kyle Long has also been back on the field since Sunday. The second year of “Bearbonnais” hasn’t been too kind to the former Oregon Duck. He began camp on the non-football injury list with an undisclosed viral infection.
Once he recovered, he was slowly being eased back into the offense before sustaining a random ankle injury last Wednesday. It was initially believed that Long would still play against the Eagles, but the Bears decided to take him out of the lineup at the last minute. Having Long back is a huge boost to the short-handed offensive line, more on that later.
Cornerback Tim Jennings has resumed practicing with the first team defense. He missed last week’s opener, and the preceding six practices, because of a pulled quad muscle. First round draft pick Kyle Fuller started in his place against Philadelphia, but all signs point to Jennings starting against Jacksonville this week.
Now for the bad news……
Most of the injuries are on the aforementioned offensive line, beginning with guard/tackle Eben Britton who continues to battle a hamstring injury. There is also some concern for second-year tackle Jordan Mills. Mills has not practiced in over a week due to soreness in his left foot that was surgically repaired during the offseason.
If you recall, Mills broke that foot during last season’s Week 17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. The soreness has gotten so bad that the Louisana Tech alum has been wearing a walking boot, and there’s no timetable for his return. Many wonder if it’s recurring pain from the surgery, or if there’s a new injury involved. Michael Ola started for Mills last week and may do so again this week. Then there’s guard/center Brian De La Puente who left the Philly game with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He’ll be out for at least two weeks.
Rounding out the list of the walking wounded are cornerback Isaiah Frey (hamstring), wide receiver Chris Williams (hamstring), and wide receiver Marquess Wilson (collarbone). The Bears will have one more practice on Tuesday morning before officially breaking camp on Wednesday. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82