For the second offseason in a row, Bears receiver Anthony Miller will need surgery to repair his left shoulder.
Miller reinjured his shoulder while returning a kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17. During his rookie season, his production dwindled as his injury worsened, though Miller healed in time to participate in training camp.
General manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy believe that the process will look similar in 2020.
"It's unfortunate," said Nagy. "It happened, and so you've got to stay positive about it. We've got to make sure we keep him mentally in it, and then when we get back to training camp, we pick up from there."
While the diagnosis is recent, Pace said that the team's medical staff does not believe Miller's shoulder will become a recurring issue.
"This is something that we can get fixed," said Pace. "I know they're confident in the outcome of it. This is new news to us basically just yesterday that he's going to need this surgery. But we don't have any long-term concerns with him."
Miller rebounded from a slow start to his second season, catching four passes for 28 yards in the first four games, to become a viable second option to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky after Allen Robinson.
"He's so physically talented," said Pace. "We talk about a player's ability to separate from man coverage and what he can do in the slot. He's so talented. I think he's a young player that's still trying to learn the offense, gain trust with the quarterback."
Miller finished the season with 52 catches for 656 yards and two touchdowns. Pace feels confident that the 2018 second-round pick will continue to progress despite this recent setback.
"I just think as the season went on, he got more comfortable," said Pace. "His dedication to learning it in meetings, away from the facility, I think you felt that. When Anthony knows what he's doing on offense, he plays so fast, and he can be such a dynamic part of what we're doing — and that's important going forward."
Pace also revealed that linebacker Roquan Smith recently had surgery on his pectoral muscle and tight end Trey Burton underwent a procedure on his hip.
Pace is optimistic that the recent operation will address a score of issues that held Burton back this season. Burton, one of the offense's most consistent weapons in 2018, was limited to 84 yards on 14 catches after battling a sports hernia in the spring and groin and calf injuries in the fall.
"He never quite felt right," said Pace. "He never felt full speed to us. So being thorough with it, second opinions, other doctors, working with his agent, working with us, our trainers, this is something we're hoping is the underlying issue. This is a different area where he had the surgery ,,, and we're hoping that that's going to solve it."
Burton was placed on IR before the Bears' Week 11 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, having appeared in eight games.
"We're optimistic this is what it is," said Pace. "We're going to see a benefit from it. Hopefully we've solved it. We all know the type of player he can be when he's healthy, and we're optimistic this hopefully fixed it."