By Bryan Dietzler
It’s a new week and there is a new game coming up this Sunday for the Bears as they go up against the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field. Chicago has been relatively lucky in the past two games to not have suffered any major injuries and at this point they are just resting players in their daily practices and giving them time to heal before game day. There were some very talented players missing from the lineup this last Sunday against the Rams as the Bears didn’t have outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, running back Matt Forte or wide receiver Eddie Royal in the lineup. They also kept center Hroniss Grasu inactive.
The following is a look at the injury report from Wednesday’s practice and each player that was on that injury report. There is a look at each player on the injury report, what might happen to that player the rest of the week and where they stand coming up for the Bears game against the Broncos this Sunday. There is also a little bit about how the player’s absence may affect them in their game this coming Sunday.
Jermon Bushrod-Bushrod has been hampered by a shoulder injury for quite some time and he has been active the past few games but is not seeing any action. Bushrod had full participation in practice Wednesday. He was the starter at the left tackle position prior to his suffering a concussion and Charles Leno Jr. took over playing very well in Bushrod’s absence. Bushrod hasn’t been able to get his starting job back since going out with the concussion and may not get his starting job back the rest of the year. It is nice to know that he is available in case anything should happen to Leno Jr. but for right now Bushrod is just a backup.
Matt Forte-Forte has missed two games with an MCL injury and was limited in practice on Wednesday. In his place, rookie running back Jeremy Langford has played very well so the Bears may not be rushing to bring him back so he may not be back for their game against the Broncos. Forte adds a unique dimension to this offense but his absence from the team hasn’t been noticed so much with Langford playing well above expectations. If he does come back the Bears will probably platoon the running backs and give them equal carries or see who has the hot hand early and then go with that player. But it’s very likely that the Bears will sit Forte again in this game and give him time to heal.
Hroniss Grasu-Grasu has missed a few games with a neck injury and was limited in practice this Wednesday. Grasu’s absence has caused the offensive line to be reshuffled and while this reshuffling doesn’t look good on paper it has been relatively effective in their recent games. It’s tough to tell what the Bears will do with Grasu this week as it all depends on the severity of his injury. They may decide to go with the same offensive line combination that has worked for them the past few games and give him more time to heal. Consider him to be “up in the air” for this Sunday’s game against the Broncos as the Bears probably won’t make any decision on him until just before game time.
Alshon Jeffery-Jeffery was hampered by a groin injury in the Bears game against the Rams and just recently it came out that he has a shoulder injury as well. Jeffery didn’t practice most of last week and was limited in his practice on Wednesday. The Bears left it up to a last minute decision last Sunday to play Jeffery against the Rams so it can be assured, like they always do, the Bears will make another last minute decision to play him or not play him in their upcoming game. Jeffery is an important part of the offense (although he was virtually shut out in the game against the Rams and didn’t have a huge impact) and the Bears have a better chance of winning with him in the lineup. Look for Jeffery to remain limited in practice the rest of the week but play on Sunday.
Shea McClellin-McClellin made his first start in several games last Sunday and played extremely well despite the fact he was still feeling the effects of the knee injury he suffered against the Chiefs. McClellin was limited in practice on Wednesday with the same knee injury he suffered several weeks ago but for him, the limited practice could be just a precaution to keep him from working too hard on that knee thus saving him for the game this Sunday. Look for McClellin to start on Sunday against the Broncos but remain limited in practice this week.
Pernell McPhee-McPhee has been nursing a knee injury for quite some time now and it finally got to the point he ended up missing the Rams game because of it. McPhee did not practice on Wednesday and it’s likely that he will not practice the rest of the week. What does this mean for McPhee playing on Sunday? The defense did a pretty decent job without him in the lineup as both Lamarr Houston and Willie Young had solid games so perhaps giving McPhee another game off to rest and heal up may be just what the Bears decide to do. It can be assured that the Bears will wait until the final few hours before the game to decide on what to do with McPhee but it’s very likely he will be sitting out this game.
Antrel Rolle-Rolle missed some time earlier this season with an ankle injury and is most likely just resting it and taking it easy to save himself for game day. Rolle was limited in practice last week as he was this Wednesday but he should be in the starting lineup come Sunday against the Broncos. Look for Rolle to be starting this Sunday helping to solidify the secondary.
Eddie Royal-Royal has missed some time with a knee injury and it doesn’t look like things are getting any better for the wide receiver. Royal hasn’t practiced for quite some time and was not practicing this Wednesday. It would appear as if Royal isn’t going to be available for the game this Sunday and the Bears will miss having him in the lineup but have gotten by without him. Royal was thought to be an answer for the Bears at the slot receiver position this year when they signed him during the offseason but injuries have kept him out of a lot of action this year and it just doesn’t look like it’s working out for him and the Bears.
Matt Slauson-Slauson was a full participant in practice with elbow and ankle injuries and it doesn’t appear as if anything is going to hold him back from starting this Sunday. The only question is, which position will he start at? If Grasu is out he will be starting, again, at center but if the rookie is able to make it back into the lineup than Slauson can switch back to his position at guard. It remains to be seen. Either way Slauson looks like he will be healthy and ready to go for the game this Sunday.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Forte and McPhee this weekend. The Bears appear to be poised to bring Forte back but they could let him rest one more game after seeing what Langford can do. The combination of Houston and Young has helped overcome the loss of McPhee so the Bears may decide to let him sit. Aside from Royal, it appears as if all the other players on the injury report are going to play this Sunday. Hopefully the Bears don’t have any more injuries this week against the Broncos that they will have to worry about for next week.