AP NEWS

Report says Chicago Bears Long could be out 6-8 weeks

October 31, 2018

When it required the assistance of two Bears personnel members to help ORG Kyle Long off the field near the end of Sunday’s 24-10 victory over the Jets, and when he required crutches to navigate the postgame locker room, it was assumed his right foot injury was serious.

Initial estimates assumed Long would be out at least a month, but it appears it will be longer than that, and the three-time Pro Bowler could miss the remainder of the season. Long will miss six to eight weeks according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Long is a candidate to be placed on injured reserve and designated to return. But if he’s out eight weeks, he wouldn’t be back until the season finale, and there would be no benefit to bringing a rusty player back for one game and risk re-injury.

The Bears are in decent shape to withstand the loss of Long. Six-year veteran Eric Kush started the first six games at left guard before missing Sunday’s victory over the Jets with a neck injury, but he’s expected back this week.

The Bears have been grooming rookie James Daniels to become a starter since Week Four, when he began alternating series with Kush, and the second-round pick from Iowa got his first start Sunday when the veteran was sidelined.

Just 10 days ago, the Bears claimed four-year veteran OG Bryan Witzmann off waivers. Witzmann started 13 games last year for the Chiefs in Nagy’s offense, and he stepped in Sunday when Long went down.

“The good thing is that we do have Kush coming back, and Witzmann was with me in Kansas City last year,” Nagy said. “I’m going to give credit to (G.M.) Ryan (Pace). Always having depth is great.”

Long is three years removed from his last Pro Bowl, and he has not played at that level this year. But his experience and leadership will be missed.

He had started every game this year after enduring shoulder, neck and elbow surgeries since December. In 2016, surgery on his severely sprained right ankle ended that season at the midway point.

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