The only luck that Markus Wheaton has had this summer in training camp has been bad.
First, the Bears receiver underwent an emergency appendectomy July 30. And then after sitting out nearly two weeks, Wheaton returned to team drills Sunday and promptly broke his pinkie while trying to catch a pass over the middle.
Receiver Markus Wheaton is in his first year with the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I felt bad for the guy today,” said coach John Fox. “I mean he just finally got back out there and he was coming back on a curl route and he just kind of got jiggled and the ball landed on the end of his finger. Hopefully that won’t be too big of a setback.”
Wheaton signed a two-year contract with the Bears March 10 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Steelers. A 2013 third-round pick out of Oregon State, he had a breakout season in 2014, catching 53 passes for 644 yards and two touchdowns. Wheaton followed in 2015 with 44 receptions for 749 yards and five TDs.
However, the 5-11, 185-pounder sustained a shoulder injury last preseason that limited him to three regular-season games before he was placed on injured reserve Nov. 19.
“He’s a great kid,” Fox said. “He works really hard. He’s a great teammate and he does have downfield speed that we saw early in the offseason and hopefully we’ll get to see here really soon.”
Consistent performer: Undrafted rookie receiver Tanner Gentry produced the play of the day in Sunday’s practice, leaping high over cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc to haul in a Mitch Trubisky pass along the right sideline.
The spectacular grab came on fourth-and-four to sustain a two-minute drive. On the next play, Trubisky rifled an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Brown over the middle.
Gentry has consistently generated big plays throughout training camp after enjoying a breakout season last year at Wyoming, catching 72 passes for 1,326 yards and 14 TDs.
“He’s had a good camp,” Fox said. “I haven’t seen the tape yet on [Sunday’s] practice, but he keeps seeming to make plays, so he’s been impressive.”
QB watch: With veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez resting a bruised ankle, Trubisky took second-team reps behind Mike Glennon.
Glennon was intercepted by cornerback Prince Amukamara early in practice but rebounded with a touchdown pass to receiver Cameron Meredith in the corner of the end zone and a completion to receiver Kevin White over the middle on fourth-and-three in a two-minute drill.
Trubisky connected with running back Tarik Cohen down the right sideline and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Ben Braunecker.
Sanchez injured his ankle last week and is expected to play in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Cardinals in Arizona.
“We just want to let it heal up,” Fox said. “We just want to make sure we get him to Saturday, so we gave him off today to get that rest.”
Sad situation: Kyle Long is focused on football at training camp, but the Bears guard is also well aware of what’s been transpiring in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va.
The city has been the site of white supremacist rallies and violence over the weekend that has resulted in three deaths.
“Regardless of where it’s happening, injustice in the world we live in, in any place, is injustice to humanity,” Long said. “And it’s a threat to the freedoms we have. Obviously, it’s a small percentage of people involved who are blatantly in the wrong, and we need to do our best as good folks and continue to outnumber and express our opinions and act accordingly when given the opportunity to.
“We’ve been here at camp, so we haven’t really been able to watch all the coverage. But being from Charlottesville, I’ve kinda had the inside ear. Prayers to the families that lost folks. Just thinking about all the people there going through it right now.”