As Kyle Long continues to recover from a foot injury, the Bears are hoping that he picks up this week in practice where he left off last Friday.
“Last week he had that good Friday; now hopefully this week he can jump back in and continue to get better and better,” said coach Matt Nagy.
Nagy remains cautiously optimistic that Long will be able to play in Sunday’s regular-season finale in Minnesota. The six-year veteran has not appeared in a game since he injured his foot Oct. 28 in a win over the Jets.
“I think he’s in a good place now,” Nagy said. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he has some good practices this week and we’ll see where he’s at.”
Long enjoyed returning to practice last Friday and is eager to show this week that he’s ready for game action.
“I felt good to get out there with the guys and be part of the team,” Long said. “In this business, if you can’t be on the field, nobody wants to see you, nobody wants to be around you. I look forward to proving my worth to my teammates, my coaches and the fans.”
Long, who started the first seven games of the season at right guard, isn’t the only one who’s excited about his possible return.
“When you plug a guy like that into the offense, it makes everyone else around them better immediately,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. “It’s going to give me more time, open up bigger holes in the run game. When you put a player of his caliber in there, it makes the offense better. So we’re definitely excited to get him back, whenever that is.”
Selected by the Bears with the 20th pick in the 2013 draft, Long was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons while playing in 47 of 48 games. But the past three years he has missed 21 of 46 games due to injuries.
As Long continues to work his way back, he’s focused on improving his conditioning.
“I’m not a marathon runner,” he said. “Thank God it’s a six-second interval. If it was double digits, I don’t think I’d ever be able to make it. But football conditioning is a real thing and I look forward to working my tail off to get back in the same position that I was from a cardio-vascular standpoint prior to injury.”
Long is thrilled to be back on the practice field, especially after finishing the previous two seasons on injured reserve.
“In the moment when you’re dealing with an injury, you never really know if the light at the end of the tunnel is the end of the tunnel or another train coming to hit you,” Long said. “So I’m glad I was able to make my way out and see some sunshine.”
The Bears return to the practice field before the final regular season game of the season against the Vikings.