Bears notebook: Injuries abound as practice for Packers game begins

Leading up to their stunning win at the Patriots in Week 7, the Bears put out an injury report every day, but only because it was mandatory. Each day, all it said was “no injuries to report.”

It was a rare, blissful week.

This is the opposite.

As quarterback Justin Fields continues working through a separated non-throwing shoulder, the Bears began the week by putting mainstays Darnell Mooney and Eddie Jackson on injured reserve.

Mooney needs surgery on his ankle, and the Bears aren’t sure yet whether Jackson will need surgery on the Lisfranc injury in his foot. Those two are done for the season.

If only the trouble ended there.

The Bears opened practice Wednesday for the Packers game with nine players — many of them key — limited or out of practice.

Both of their second-round picks — safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon — were still in the concussion protocol from hits they took in Week 11 against the Falcons.

The other problem in the secondary is that starting cornerback Kindle Vildor was limited by an ankle injury.

Offensively, they ended the last game without a right tackle after starter Riley Reiff and backup Larry Borom got hurt. Reiff remained out with a back injury Wednesday, but Borom was able to partially practice through ankle and knee issues.

That could open the door for former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood to make his debut.

Leatherwood starred at left tackle for Alabama, leading the Raiders to draft him No. 17 overall last year. When he struggled in training camp, they moved him to right guard for his rookie season. He started every game there, but the Raiders had seen enough and waived him at the roster deadline this year.

Leatherwood declined to talk to the media Wednesday.

Whoever plays quarterback behind that line will need someone to throw to, and the options could be slim. Wide receiver Chase Claypool was limited by the knee injury he suffered against the Jets, and Dante Pettis was out with an injury.

The only receivers who were full-go for practice Wednesday were Equanimeous St. Brown (14 catches) Byron Pringle (five), N’Keal Harry (four) and rookie Velus Jones (three).

Jones developing

When general manager Ryan Poles bypassed wide receivers with both of his second-round picks this year and took Jones in the third, the Bears needed him to make an immediate contribution.

Due to injuries and inconsistency, though, that hasn’t happened. It got bad enough for Jones that he was a healthy scratch in Weeks 9 and 10, but he practiced well enough to get another chance.

Jones has gotten 20 snaps over the last two games and got two carries for six yards against the Jets. It sounds like he’ll be even more involved this week as coach Matt Eberflus credited him for being “really better” at knowing his assignments.

“That’s why he’s seeing more touches and seeing more [snaps],” he said. “He’s an explosive player, and we want to get him involved.”


With the wind hitting 20 miles per hour Wednesday, the Bears opted to practice indoors. Eberflus said he wanted to replicate the anticipated game conditions — the forecast shows a high of 39 degrees with no unusual wind Sunday — so practicing in high winds wouldn’t be productive. They expect to practice outside Thursday and Friday.

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