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Injury Update: Bears' reinforcements beginning to return

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The Bears began their practice week Thursday with 12 players on the reserve/COVID list and eight others sidelined with non-COVID illnesses.

Two days later, nine of those 20 players have returned and appear ready to play Monday night when the Bears host the Vikings. A handful of others may also possibly be cleared to play against Minnesota.

Because of their depleted roster, the Bears were forced to replace full-speed practices Wednesday and Thursday with walk-throughs.

"We would've practiced full speed if we had more guys, but we just couldn't take that risk with limited guys," Nagy said. "It's a trickle-down effect. We had to make sure that we didn't tax the players that were playing. It's good news that were able to get a lot of guys back that weren't there a couple days ago, to be able to come back and give us numbers, and today we were able to get a good red-zone day in and get full speed, which is good for the guys."

In recent days, two players were removed from the COVID list: Tackle Elijah Wilkinson Friday and nose tackle Eddie Goldman Saturday.

Seven players who were held out of practice Thursday with non-COVID illnesses were cleared for full participation Friday and practiced again without restrictions Friday. That group consists of running backs David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, tight ends Cole Kmet and Jesper Horsted, receiver Jakeem Grant Sr., guard James Daniels and tackle Teven Jenkins.

With quarterback Andy Dalton and nickel back Duke Shelley added to the COVID list Friday, the Bears currently have 12 players on the list—though that number has been changing on an hour-by-hour basis this week. Those on the COVID list include receiver Allen Robinson II, safety Eddie Jackson and rookie right tackle Larry Borom, who has started the last five games.

The Bears are hopeful that some of those players will be able to return in time to face the Vikings Monday night at Soldier Field. Said Nagy: "Whoever is ready to go, we'll take them."

In terms of injuries, left tackle Jason Peters (ankle), cornerback Xavier Crawford (concussion) and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (fractured forearm) have been ruled out of the game.

With Peters sidelined, Nagy revealed that Jenkins—a rookie second-round pick from Oklahoma State—would likely make his first NFL start at left tackle against the Vikings.

"I think there's a good chance of him getting out there, which would be great," Nagy said. "Anybody having a week to prepare will definitely help out."

Jenkins saw his first NFL snaps on offense last Sunday night when he played the final three-and-a-half quarters against the Packers after Peters had exited with the ankle injury. The rookie tackle struggled, drawing four penalties and getting beaten for a strip/sack that resulted in a turnover.

Nagy said that the Bears will lend Jenkins a hand at times Monday night, but have no worries about his mentality following his shaky performance in Green Bay.

"We'll be able to help him out when we need to, and his mindset will be great," Nagy said. "It's never easy having to jump into a game like that against a great defense with good defensive ends, so we'll make sure that we're doing everything we can to give him the best opportunity."

The Bears are also expected to play without receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot) and nose tackle Khyiris Tonga (illness/shoulder). Both were listed as doubtful on the injury report after sitting out practice all week.

With Robinson on the COVID list and Goodwin unlikely to suit up, receiver Damiere Byrd will be among those asked to fill the void. Last Sunday night against the Packers, the speedy 5-9, 175-pounder caught two passes for a team-high 76 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown.

"You work hard all week game-planning and getting ready for a game, and it's always satisfying knowing that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the hard work that you put in ended up paying off when it came game time," Byrd said. "Unfortunately, Marquise can't play this week. I wish him the best on continuing to recover, and hopefully he's back soon. Obviously, opportunities are in there for being able to play on Monday. I've just been able to try to work hard this week and then hopefully I'm able to capitalize when those opportunities come to me."

The injury news is better for a pair of star defensive players: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) and inside linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring) are both listed as questionable. Hicks was a full participant in all three practices this week, while Smith also worked out in full Friday after being limited Wednesday and Thursday.

Chicago Bears
Table - Injury report
PlayerInjuryGame status
PRO CAREER:


Selected in the seventh round of the 2021 draft
Played in 15 games with two starts as a rookie


2021 SEASON (Bears):


Played in 15 games (two starts), registering 24 tackles on the season
Made his NFL debut in Week 1 vs. the Rams; he also contributed to a Week 2 win over the Bengals
Made his first-career NFL start and recorded a career-high five tackles in Week 3 at the Browns
Matched his career-high five tackles Week 11 vs. the Ravens and helped hold the Ravens to their lowest total offensive net yards this season (299)
Helped hold the Lions to a season-low 239 total net yards on offense in the Week 12 win at Detroit
Posted three tackles and helped hold the Cardinals to their second-lowest total net yards on offense (257 yards) Week 13
Played 11 snaps Week 14 at the Packers
Started and recorded his first-career fumble recovery in the Week 17 win vs. the Giants
Khyiris Tonga
Shoulder/illnessDoubtful
PRO CAREER:


Finished his fourth NFL season in 2021 after being drafted in the first round (8th overall) in the 2018 draft
Has appeared in 61 career games (59 starts), totaling 523 tackles, 17 PDs, 5 INTs, 14.0 sacks and 43 TFLs
Became the fastest Bears player since 1994 to reach 500 career tackles in 58 career games
Has recorded 100+ tackles in each of his first four seasons, becoming the first Chicago defender to have four straight seasons of 100-plus tackles, since Lance Briggs did so for six seasons (2004-2009)
His 139 tackles in 2020 ranked fourth most by a Bears defender in a season, since tackles became an official stat
His 107 tackles in 2018 ranked second all-time among Bears rookies
Recorded a sack on his first ever NFL snap in Week 1 of 2018 at Green Bay
Recorded seven tackles and an interception in Wild Card playoff game vs. PHI (1/6/19), making him just the sixth rookie in Bears history to record an interception in a postseason game
Has 23 career 10+ tackle games, the third most in Bears history since 1987
Recorded his first ever NFL pick-6 in Week 2 of the 2021 season with a 53-yard touchdown
During the 2021 season, his career-high 17 tackles (13 solo) Week 11 vs. the Ravens (2021) tied him for the third-most tackles in a game a Bear since at least 1987


HONORS:


2021: Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominee, AP All-Pro (second team)*
2020:* AP All-Pro (second team); Ed Block Courage award winner *
2018: *Brian Piccolo rookie award winner; ESPN.com All-Rookie team


2021 SEASON (Bears):


Started in every game and had 10+ tackles in nine contests
Season totals include 163 tackles (95 solo), 12 TFL, 3.0 sacks and one interception returned for a 53-yard touchdown
His 163 tackles on the season ranked fifth in the league
Surpassed 500 career tackles Week 15 vs. the Vikings and 100 tackles on the season Week 11 vs. the Ravens after recording a career-high 17 tackles (13 solo)
Became the fastest Bears player since 1994 to reach 500 career tackles in 58 games
Led the team in tackles with 11 (five solo) in Week 1
Recorded a team-high eight tackles in the Week 2 victory over the Bengals; additionally he sacked Bengals QB Joe Burrow for a loss of eight yards and ran 53 yards for his first career pick-6
Logged a team-high nine tackles in Week 3 at the Browns
Recorded 10 tackles to mark his 400th career tackle in Week 4 vs. the Lions
He also logged 1.0 sack, dropping QB Jared Goff for a loss of eight yards
Had a team-high 10 tackles (five solo) and one PD in the Week 5 victory at the Raiders
Finished the Week 6 matchup vs. the Packers with a team-leading 12 tackles (six solo)
Registered a team-high 13 tackles in Week 7 at the Buccaneers
Logged 12 tackles and 1.0 sack, dropping Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger nine yards in Pittsburgh Week 9; he also had two TFLs and one QBH
Recorded a career-high 17 tackles (13 solo), including two TFLs Week 11 vs. the Ravens; his 17 tackles in a single game tied him for the third-most tackles in a game by a Bear since at least 1987
Finished the Week 13 contest vs. the Cardinals with a team-leading eight tackles (4 solo), marking the 10th outing this season in which Smith has led the Bears in individual tackles
Tied DB Eddie Jackson and DB Artie Burns to lead the team once again with nine tackles Week 14 at the Packers
Recorded a team-high 10 tackles Week 15 vs. the Vikings, marking his ninth double-digit contest this season
Led the team with nine tackles and recorded two TFLs and one pass break up in the Week 16 win at Seattle
Tallied a team-high nine tackles and two TFL in the Week 17 win vs. the Giants


2020 SEASON (Bears):


Finished second in the NFL with 98 solo tackles; and sixth in combined tackles (139) and was second in the NFL with 18 TFL, only behind T.J. Watt (23)
Finished the season as the only NFL defender to record over 100 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and have at least two sacks and interceptions. These totals have only been accomplished three times now since 2015.
Intercepted two passes in Week 16, becoming the first Chicago linebacker to have a multi-interception game since Lance Briggs in 2008; additionally, he is one of 15 defenders and the only LB to have a multi-interception game in 2020
Matched a career best two sacks in the Week 14 win vs. Houston; finished with 12 tackles and two sacks
Logged a season-high 14 tackles, matched a career-high with three TFL and added one sack in Week 10 vs. Minnesota
Logged a team-high 11 tackles vs. New Orleans and again the very next week at the Titans
Tallied 13 tackles (11 solo) and a career-high 3 TFL in Week 4 vs. the Colts
Had 12 tackles, one TFL and one PD in the Week 6 win at Carolina
Recorded seven tackles, including five solo and one TFL, in the Week 1 win in Detroit
Had eight tackles (seven solo) and one TFL in the Week 2 win over the Giants


2019 SEASON (Bears):


Started 12 games in which he played, recording 100 tackles, two pass defenses, two sacks, one interception and five TFLs
Recorded career-highs with 16 tackles and 2.0 sacks on Thanksgiving at DET, joining Vinny Rey and Patrick Willis as the only platers to have 15+ tackles and two more sacks in a game since 1982
Recorded five double-digit tackle games
Intercepted Rams QB Jared Goff in Week 11
inactive for Week 4 vs. MIN; placed on Injured Reserve on 12/9


2018 SEASON (Bears):


Appeared in 16 games (14 starts), recording team-high 122 tackles (two shy of the Bears rookie record), four passes defensed, one interception, five sacks and eight tackles-for-loss
Recorded a sack on his first ever NFL snap at GB
Recorded a season-high 13 tackles at Miami (10/14); tied that season-high at Buffalo (11/4)
107 tackles is second all-time among Bears rookies
Recorded seven tackles and an interception in Wild Card playoff game vs. PHI (1/6/19), making him just the sixth rookie in Bears history to record an interception in a postseason game
Roquan Smith
HamstringQuestionable

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