The Bears on Monday placed veteran right guard Kyle Long on injured reserve with a nagging hip injury, ending his season.
The seventh-year pro started each of the first three games this year, sat out a Week 4 win over the Vikings and then returned to play against the Raiders a week ago Sunday in London.
Coach Matt Nagy explained the move Monday and revealed that Long will not be a candidate to return from injured reserve late in the season.
“It’s a tough situation just because of what he’s been going through and where he’s at,” Nagy said. “That’s where it’s at right now. He’s always been really good to us and what he’s done. We just felt like that was where he’s at right now and it’s what we wanted to do.”
Nagy told reporters that the injury was a result of “wear-and-tear” and that the decision to place Long on injured reserve “was collaborative for all of us.”
“He understands,” Nagy said of Long. “We do all of this together. When we go through this stuff, he wants to be able to be healthier. It’s just where we’re at. It’s something that’s been nagging him. It’s nothing that’s crazy significant, but it’s at a point where that’s what we need to do.”
Watching Long play this season, it was evident that he was injured.
“Kyle would tell you,” Nagy said. “There are plays that jump out where that doesn’t really seem like him. We understand that. He understands that.”
Despite starting only six games at Oregon, Long was chosen by the Bears with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft.
He was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, the first Bears offensive lineman to accomplish that feat and the first Bears player since Hall of Fame middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Long started 47 of 48 games during his first three seasons, but injuries then forced him to miss 22 of 48 contests from 2016-18.
Long sat out the last seven games in 2016 and the first two contests in 2017 after suffering a severe ankle injury in a road loss to the Buccaneers. He then missed the final four games in 2017 with a shoulder injury he sustained in a home defeat to the 49ers.
After spending the 2018 offseason recovering from separate surgeries on his neck, shoulder and elbow, Long started the first seven games before injuring his foot in a home win over the Jets. He missed eight contests before returning to start a Week 17 road win over the Vikings and a wild-card playoff loss to the Eagles.
Although Long was healthy during the offseason for the first time in several years, he has now landed on injured reserve for the fourth straight season.
“It’s the tale of the league for you,” said left tackle Charles Leno Jr., Long’s teammate since 2014. “He’s been through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and that’s just how the league goes. You never know when that time is going to come. His happened so fast, so abrupt.”