Bears guard Kyle Long, out since Oct., likely to return
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears appear likely to get starting right guard Kyle Long back from injured reserve for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, although no final decision has yet been made.
Long has been out since Oct. 28, when he suffered a tendon injury in his right foot against the New York Jets.
“I thought he’s had a good week of practice and, again, when you’re out that long and you come back, a lot of it is just getting your wind back, your conditioning back and then obviously trying to see exactly how you feel pain-wise and then health-wise as well,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said Friday. “But he’s done a good job.”
The NFC North champion Bears (11-4) could earn a first-round playoff bye with a win and a loss by the Los Angeles Rams, while the Vikings (8-6-1) need a win or a loss by the Philadelphia Eagles to make the playoffs as a wild card.
Nagy said coaches and medical officials would meet later Friday to sort out final details on player availability, but the return of the three-time Pro Bowl player seemed imminent either for the full game or at least part of it.
“Just talking to him throughout the week, I feel pretty good with him playing most of the game,” Nagy said. “But we’ve just got to kind of see if that’s where we’re at and if it is a pitch count.
“I think a lot of that honestly is going to be more so when you’re in the game: How’s he feeling? If he’s feeling good, keep him going.”
Nagy said Long has done everything required in practices.
Long had surgery on the foot after his injury and was put on injured reserve with an option to return.
“He’s gonna be a good addition to what’s already going on offensively,” linebacker Khalil Mack said. “Just being able to have him back is huge for us. Looking forward to seeing how he does.”
Long was replaced by Eric Kush and then Bryan Witzmann following his injury.
Long returned to practice for the first time last Friday and said conditioning was the biggest issue.
“I mean, I’m not a marathon runner, thank God,” Long said earlier this week. “It’s a six-second (play) interval. If it was double digits, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to make it.”
It appears the Bears will be without several other key players.
Safety Eddie Jackson (ankle), linebacker Aaron Lynch (elbow) and wide receiver Allen Robinson II (ribs) have not practiced the entire week and are all doubtful for Sunday’s game.
Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (knee) is questionable after practicing all week on a limited basis.