Burton hopes to return to game action in Denver

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The nagging groin injury that caused Trey Burton to miss last Thursday night’s season opener against the Packers has frustrated the veteran tight end, but he hopes to play Sunday when the Bears visit the Broncos.

“We’re taking it day-by-day,” Burton said Thursday. “I’m hoping by Sunday I’ll be good. Every day is a different day and some days I feel really good and some days I don’t feel good at all. It’s been a very humbling process. Today I'm feeling good. [But] it's been extremely frustrating."

Burton was injured in practice a few days before the Sept. 5 season opener. He tested it out during pregame warmups but was deactivated, with coach Matt Nagy saying: “It was close, but we felt like it wasn’t the right time.”

Burton practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and could play Sunday in Denver even if he doesn’t work out without restrictions this week.

“He did have a good day [Wednesday], which is good,” Nagy said. “We want to stack those up. When we get to the weekend, we’ll see exactly where he’s at.”

A reserve during his first four NFL seasons with the Eagles from 2014-17, Burton was signed by the Bears last year in free agency to be their No. 1 tight end and fill a vital role in Nagy’s offense. The Florida product responded by starting all 16 games for the first time and establishing career highs in all receiving categories with 54 receptions, 569 yards and six touchdowns.

Burton was unable to play in the Bears’ wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles due to a groin injury that required offseason surgery. His current issue is unrelated to last year’s injury, which he revealed was more severe.

Like most Bears starters, Burton did not play in the preseason. But he intended to be on the field for the regular-season opener before getting injured.

“It’s been a really humbling process,” Burton said. “Waking up every day I just don’t know how I’m going to feel. It’s extremely frustrating.

“This whole process has been crazy. I’ve never been through anything like it and I can’t wait to get back out there. Hopefully I’ll be able to go this week.”

An integral part of the Bears offense, Burton had at least four receptions in nine games last season. The team was 11-2 when he had multiple catches and 1-2 when he did not. Without him against the Packers, the Bears targeted their tight ends just twice on 45 pass attempts—both to Adam Shaheen, who had one reception for six yards.

While Burton is very eager to return to game action, he appreciates the caution the Bears have demonstrated during his recovery.

“I can’t be more thankful to be in an organization like this,” Burton said. “Not many other places would do what they’re doing here in Chicago, from the head trainer to the GM to the head coach. I’m so thankful for those guys and the process and their trust in me through all of this.”

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