Chicago Bears Pro Bowl right guard Kyle Long is the latest major injury concern. Could he miss the season opener? What’s the plan if Long misses time?
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It’s been a rough preseason for the Chicago Bears. Injuries have plagued the team from the start of training camp when GM Ryan Pace announced that outside linebacker Pernell McPhee would start camp on the PUP list, a list from which he has yet to emerge.
The latest big injury concern is Kyle Long, who’s dealing with a labrum issue according to the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs:
"Multiple sources told the Tribune that Long is dealing with a labrum issue, raising the question: How much time will he miss? Coach John Fox was predictably evasive after practice Tuesday when asked if Long would be ready for the Sept. 11 opener in Houston — 18 days away."
The Bears offensive line has been the subject of a lot of turnover since the start of last season and even throughout the offseason. It’s been a shaky start to the preseason so far after giving up seven sacks in the preseason debut against the Denver Broncos.
Add up the loss of presumed starting center Hroniss Grasu to a torn ACL, the retirements of Nate Chandler and Manny Ramirez and the departures of Matt Slauson, Vlad Ducasse, Jermon Bushrod and Will Montgomery from the starting lineup last season and you’ve got a mess.
Ted Larsen, who stepped into the starting center role when Grasu went down, has moved over to right guard while former undrafted free agent Cornelius Edison has moved to the center position. Assuming Long misses the start of the season, that leaves your projected starting offensive line for Week 1, from left to right: Charles Leno, rookie Codey Whitehair, Edison, Larsen and free agent Bobby Massie. I wonder if Jay Cutler has his life insurance paid up? Their only saving grace might be that JJ Watt might miss the regular season opener.
A dark horse candidate to step in and help the offensive line is Amini Silatolu, whom the Bears signed in the offseason but has yet to play in either of the two preseason games.
If I had to place a bet, I would guess that Long will be lined up at right guard on September 11th vs the Houston Texans. The big question is how effective Long will be and whether he can continue to suit up week to week and perform at a high level. This could be a lingering issue throughout the regular season.