Teven Jenkins had August back surgery. | David Banks, AP Photos
The second-round pick had back surgery in August.
Teven Jenkins, the rookie tackle who went from presumed starter to injured reserve without participating in a single training camp practice, is back.
Monday, the Bears opened a three-week window during which Jenkins can practice. The team must either activate him during that three-week period or return him to IR for the rest of the season.
Jenkins figures to take most — if not all — of the three weeks before returning to game action. The team has invested a lot into Jenkins, though, and certainly wants to get a look at him before the season ends. It’s far to wonder, though, on which side he’d play.
Coach Matt Nagy wouldn’t say Monday whether he’d play on the left side — where the Bears planned for him to start before he underwent back surgery in August — or on the right. Jason Peters, 39, has been solid at left tackle. Larry Borom, another rookie, has garnered positive reviews at right tackle in the last two games.
“We’ll have to really get him in here and see where he’s at,” Nagy said. “It’s been a while since Teven’s put the pads on, so we’ll start there. That will be exciting for us to see where he’s at. I know he’s really anxious and excited to get out there. …
“Now we get to work through and see where he’s at conditioning-wise, physically where he’s at. It’s just gonna be, honestly, really, an hour-by-hour, day-by-day process with him. But it’s definitely a good thing to have, and we’re excited to get him out there.”
The Bears traded their second-, third- and sixth-round picks to the Panthers for the No. 39 overall pick, which they used to draft Jenkins, and a fifth-rounder. Within days, the team cut left tackle Charles Leno and installed Jenkins, who played mostly on the right side at Oklahoma State, at the position.
A back injury prevented Jenkins from playing a second of training camp. Shortly after the Bears agreed to sign Peters, they said Jenkins would have surgery.
In recent weeks, Jenkins was spotted running hills during practice. One week ago, he went through extensive workouts at Heinz Field hours before the Bears played the Steelers.
“We’ll see how he is,” Nagy said. “He’s a competitor. You all saw that when we drafted him. You see the type of mean streak he has. You see how much he loves football, how much his teammates really appreciate him — and he appreciates them.”
Nagy said that safety Deon Bush will begin his practice window Monday, too. He was put on IR with a quad injury last month.