Momentum continued to build for the Bears’ offense Friday with the expectation that two starting offensive linemen will be back Sunday against the Dolphins.
The Bears activated left guardCody Whitehairwill from injured reserve, and right tackleLarry Boromcleared the concussion protocol and practiced in full for the first time Friday.
Whitehair started 99 of a possible 101 games before spraining his right knee in Week 4 against the Giants and missing four games. He has been back at practice for a week, and his performance was convincing as the Bears debated whether he should return.
“His movement’s good; his jumps were good,” coachMatt Eberflussaid. “The strength staff did a nice job of getting him ready to go, and he’s looked good in practice.”
Whitehair began his career as a center and made the Pro Bowl there in 2018, but has mostly played left guard the last four seasons. The Bears likely will keepSam Mustipherat center and play Whitehair in his natural spot.
Whitehair is the Bears’ longest-tenured player, but missing significant time during a season was new to him. Nonetheless, he felt fully confident about jumping back in after the layoff.
“It will take a little bit of time to adjust, but I’ve played enough ball,” he said. “It will be like riding a bike.”
The Bears still haven’t gotten their intended starting offensive line on the field and won’t any time soon because centerLucas Patrickis out with a toe injury. He is on injured reserve and can’t return until Week 12 against the Jets.
The only offensive lineman who hasn’t missed time this season is rookie left tackleBraxton Jones. He is the only player on the roster to play 100% of the snaps.
Bolstering the offensive line should only help quarterbackJustin Fieldsand an offense that has been significantly better over the last four week. The Bears also hope to get a boost from new wide receiverChase Claypool, whom they acquired from the Steelers this week.