The Bears on Wednesday placed defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on injured reserve with a broken ankle he sustained late in last Sunday's 28-13 win over the Lions.
Coach Matt Eberflus told reporters that Ngakoue will miss the final five games of the season and require surgery.
In his first year with the Bears, Ngakoue started the first 13 games and recorded 22 tackles, 4.0 sacks and six tackles-for-loss.
"Just want to compliment him on him being a true pro all the way through," Eberflus said. "Really helped our young guys the entire year and just want really to credit him for that and I really appreciate him being a great teammate."
Ngakoue signed a one-year contract with the Bears Aug. 4 after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Jaguars (2016-19), Vikings (2020), Ravens (2021) and Colts (2022). He arrived having appeared in 110 games with 102 starts, compiling 202 tackles, 65.0 sacks, 21 forced fumble and three fumble recoveries.
Prior to this year, Ngakoue had never recorded fewer than 8.0 sacks in a season since entering the NFL in 2016 as a third-round pick with Jacksonville.
"I think that [his stats] were good; they could have been better, because he missed some," Eberflus said. "There were a lot of times he had [quarterbacks] in the shoe there and he could have got him down. We've just got to do a good job of finishing, wrapping up the quarterback, strip sacking as you come through, and I think he could have had at least three or four more."
Asked how the Bears would replace Ngakoue, Eberflus joked: "Blitz every snap."
In reality, the veteran's absence—beginning Sunday when the Bears visit the Browns in Cleveland—will result in expanded playing time for several defensive linemen.
"That's really a great opportunity for some other guys," Eberflus said. "We've been rotating a lot of guys in there. For me, it's about finding that best combination, and really it's about the matchups; when you look at the skill set of the offensive line that we're playing against this week and how we can match up best against those guys and who that is going against who. So that's important."
Ngakoue has played 72% of the defensive snaps this season, though he was on the field for just 53% and 52% of the plays in the last two games—wins over the Vikings and Lions—the only times this year he's been under 62%. Ends DeMarcus Walker, Rasheem Greenand Dominique Robinson and tackles Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens are among those who could help pick up the slack.
"It's important for those guys to lean into the opportunity and have vision for the opportunity and vision for the plays [they're] going to make," Eberflus said. "This is what the walk-through practice today is about—it's about guys visualizing themselves in the game plan, making plays in the game today and then moving forward, making the corrections and moving onto the next day."