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Long week-to-week with right foot injury


Bears right guard Kyle Long is week-to-week with a right foot injury he sustained late in last Sunday's win over the Jets. Coach Matt Nagy said Wednesday that the injury involves a tendon and is not related to the broken right ankle Long suffered in 2016.

"He's in a boot, so we're still in that week-to-week thing for him," Nagy said. "We don't know the complete extent to it yet. We just know that for him right now we're trying to just get through the point of figuring out throughout this week and the following weeks how long it's going to be."

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday night that Long is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks. But Nagy insisted that "there's no timeline figured out with him."

The Bears are considering whether to place Long on injured reserve. If they do, the veteran offensive lineman could return to the 53-man roster after eight weeks.

"Those are decisions we're going through," Nagy said. "It's the timing of it and then the rules come into play throughout the NFL with how it works and then roster-wise what you want to do. There's some things you have to get into that [general manager] Ryan [Pace] and I need to discuss and talk about, but that all comes with the territory."

Nagy praised Pace for building roster depth to withstand injuries to key contributors. At guard, the Bears have two players who've started games this season in veteran Eric Kush and rookie James Daniels and a third in Bryan Witzmann who started 13 games for the Chiefs last year when Nagy was Kansas City's offensive coordinator.

"We always try to stay one step ahead, and that goes back to the depth again," Nagy said. "If you run into a situation like this, then who's the next guy up? That's where you get into your coaches like [Harry] Hiestand teaching these younger guys so that when you get into a predicament like this you feel comfortable."

It's unclear who the Bears will start at the left and right guard positions Sunday in Buffalo, but Nagy said that Cody Whitehair would remain at center.

"We're working through that," Nagy said. "We have good players. Between those three guys—James, Kush and Witzmann—we feel confident in all three and we'll work through where they're at and when they play and how they play."

Kush is expected to return Sunday after missing last weekend's win over the Jets with a neck injury. He started the first six games of the season at left guard, splitting time with Daniels in the final three of those contests.

Kush was selected by the Chiefs in the sixth round of the 2013 draft out of California (Pa.). He appeared in three games as a rookie when Nagy was Kansas City's quarterbacks coach and remained with the Chiefs through the 2015 offseason.

"He's a fighter, Nagy said. "He's very competitive. Knowing the protections and knowing where to go with the call 'backers in the run game, he has that in his back pocket. And then here's a kid that played Division II football. He's battled a lot of odds, he's beat a lot of odds. Whenever he gets challenged or put in a position to do well, he's done a great job of that so far. He had that injury and now he'll be back and we need him back."

Nagy is comfortable having two veterans in Kush and Witzmann that he previously coached who "know our system, know our protections, know our run game." But Nagy also cautioned that "they have to be themselves when they come in here. They can't try to be Kyle as we go, and whoever it is, wherever it is, play ball and cut it loose.

"We have to have guys that are ready at all positions and no matter what, you can't have excuses as a team. You have to roll and that's where we're at, that's what we have to deal with and see how it continues to go here."

While the Bears have depth to rely on at guard, they'll still miss Long.

"He is a big presence," Nagy said. "For us he's still in the meetings, he's still around, his big personality is around, which we love. It's like that with a lot of our guys that we've lost. For him though, in his situation, just to be around just like today, being in the meetings, nothing's changed there. We're all there for him [and] he's there for us."

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