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Injury Update

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Bears impacted by injuries at two key spots | Injury Update

Bears receiver Chase Claypool, right guard Teven Jenkins and left guard Cody Whitehair
Bears receiver Chase Claypool, right guard Teven Jenkins and left guard Cody Whitehair

It appears that the Bears will be shorthanded both on their offensive line and at the receiver position in Saturday's home game against the Bills.

Left guard Cody Whitehair (knee) and right guard Teven Jenkins (neck) are listed as doubtful with injuries that prevented them from practicing Wednesday and Thursday. Both players were hurt in last Sunday's loss to the Eagles.

With neither expected to play versus Buffalo, the Bears likely will employ their eighth different offensive line combination of the season.

Coach Matt Eberflus said Thursday that Michael Schofield III would likely start in place of Jenkins at right guard. Schofield, an eight-year NFL veteran, has appeared in 10 games with four starts this season. After Jenkins was injured on the Bears' opening possession last Sunday, Schofield stepped in and played the remainder of the game.

One possible replacement at left guard is Larry Borom, who has played exclusively at the left and right tackle positions in two seasons with the Bears. The 2021 fifth-round pick from Missouri primarily played tackle in college but started two games at left guard in 2019.

"Obviously, when you're potentially losing two starters on the inside of your line, that's a big thing," Eberflus said. "That's something that we've looked at all week. Schofield will be in there if one of them can't go, and if the second guy can't go, we'll see what happens. Larry Borom has been working in there a little bit, which has been good. I think he's done some good things. Those guys have always prepared in different spots, and you've got to have a pair and a spare. You've always got to do that, and the guys are excited about that. [Offensive line coach] Chris Morgan has done a good job all year with different line changes and [assistant line coach] Austin King as well."

Eberflus has been impressed with how Borom—a 6-5, 333-pounder who recently recovered from a knee injury—has performed at guard in practice.

"He looks comfortable in there," Eberflus said. "He's done a good job in there all week, just being in that tighter space. He's a big guy who can move guys off the ball, which is good in our run game. I think he's done a good job with his assignments in there, so it's a good look."

The Bears will also be thin at receiver against the Bills. Darnell Mooney is out for the season with an ankle injury, Equanimeous St. Brown has been ruled out of the game with a concussion and Chase Claypool is doubtful with a knee injury that prevented him from playing versus the Eagles.

Asked whether it's been problematic that the Bears aren't getting a chance to see what Claypool can do, Eberflus said: "I think that's always the case. You always want to see what they can do. You want to see their skillsets. You want to be able to evaluate those things. And when a player's out, you don't get to do that. That's always the case. It doesn't matter if it's Claypool or whoever else it is. We always want a chance to evaluate our guys in practice and then put them in the best position to succeed."

Against the Eagles, Bears wide receivers combined for seven catches for 89 yards: Byron Pringle (2-39), Nsimba Webster (2-14), St. Brown (1-20), Dante Pettis (1-13) and Velus Jones Jr. (1-3).

Veteran receiver N'Keal Harry also missed last Sunday's game with a back injury, but the fourth-year pro is expected to return Saturday versus Buffalo.

"I've been getting a lot of treatment these last few weeks, so I'm feeling good and ready to go this weekend," Harry said. "Last week I was still going through a good amount of pain. I still would have tried to go out there and fight through it, but I think it was one of those situations where coach had to save me from myself. He's looking out for my best interest. He thought it was best to have me rest for one more week. I'm just excited to get out there, get back on the field and help this team win some games."

The Bears spent a chilly Wednesday afternoon on the practice fields at Halas Hall getting ready for their Christmas Eve matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

In addition to St. Brown, tight end Trevon Wesco (calf) has been ruled out of Saturday's game.

Cornerback Jaylon Johnson (finger/ribs) was originally listed as questionable for Saturday's game, and fellow cornerback Kindle Vildor (ankle) was ruled out, but both were placed on injured reserve Friday and will miss the remainder of the season.

Chicago Bears
Table - Injury report
Player Injury Game status
Josh Blackwell
Josh Blackwell
Shoulder Not_Listed
Larry Borom
Larry Borom
Knee Not_Listed
Teven Jenkins
Teven Jenkins
Neck Doubtful

In other news, after Eberflus indicated Thursday that running back Khalil Herbert would be activated from injured reserve, Herbert was indeed activated off IR Friday. The second-year pro returned to practice Tuesday after missing the last four games with a hip injury.

The Bears on Thursday also promoted cornerback Harrison Hand from the practice squad to the active roster. Hand was claimed by the Bears Sept. 13 off waivers from the Giants and has appeared in one game this year, Dec. 4 against the Packers.

Hand was selected by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Temple. He played in 23 games with one start over two seasons with Minnesota, recording 22 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups. His interception came against future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

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