Bears rookie tackle Teven Jenkins returned to practice Monday for the first time since offseason workouts.
The second-round pick from Oklahoma State had been sidelined with a back injury that required surgery Aug. 18. The Bears now have 21 days to activate Jenkins from injured reserve.
"We'll have to really get him in here and see where he's at," said coach Matt Nagy. "It's been a while since Teven's put the pads on, so we'll start there. That will be exciting for us to see where he's at. I know he's really anxious and excited to get out there."
Jenkins was a four-year contributor and three-year starter at Oklahoma State. Last year the 6-6, 320-pounder opened six games at right tackle and one contest at left tackle before opting out for the rest of the season.
Jenkins started 10 games at right tackle and three at left tackle as a sophomore in 2018 before opening nine contests at right tackle and three at left tackle as a junior in 2019. Further showing his versatility, he also started two games at right guard as a freshman in 2017.
It's unclear at this time whether Jenkins will line up at left or right tackle in practice.
"As far as the sides and stuff, we'll work through it with him," Nagy said. "We get to work through and see where he's at conditioning-wise, physically where he's at. It's just going to be, honestly, really an hour-by-hour, day-by-day process with him. But it's definitely a good thing to have, and we're excited to get him out there."
Passionate about the game, Jenkins is more than a little eager to get back on the field, so the Bears will be careful to make sure he doesn't do too much too soon.
"He's a guy that loves to play, so we have to be able to temper him a little bit and calm him down and protect him from himself," Nagy said. "You've got the mental side, you've got the physical side, but also us communicating with him and saying, 'How did you feel today?' and we'll see it on tape. We'll see how he is.
"He's a competitor. You all saw that when we drafted him. You see the type of mean streak he has. You see how much he loves football; how much his teammates really appreciate him and he appreciates them. So, I think what will happen is it will all just play itself out as we go here and see how things are. And then in the end we have to all over-communicate and see where he's at. But it is exciting to be able to get him back out here."
In other injury news, veteran safety Deon Bush will also return to practice Monday for the first time since hurting his quad Oct. 17 in a loss to the Packers. The sixth-year pro has missed the last three games. Like Jenkins, the Bears will now have 21 days to activate him from injured reserve.
Since being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2016 draft from Miami, Bush has appeared in 71 games with 10 starts over six seasons. This year he has played in six contests with two starts, recording 11 tackles and two pass breakups on defense and four stops on special teams.
Asked about the possibility of outside linebacker Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson returning from injuries to play Sunday against the Ravens, Nagy said: "That's what we're hoping for."
Mack has missed the last two games against the 49ers and Steelers with a foot injury he sustained in a Week 3 loss in Cleveland. He played in four contests after suffering the injury—recording three sacks—despite being either limited or held out of practice entirely. But the Bears decided to sit him for a couple of weeks to accelerate the healing process.
"Khalil is at a point right now where he's just continuing to push," Nagy said. "Every day matters to get closer and closer. Our training staff and our doctors are doing everything we can, so we'll just have to figure it out and see as the week progresses how he is."
The situation is the same for Jackson, who has been out since hurting his hamstring on the defense's second play Oct. 31 versus San Francisco.
"The thing with [Mack and Jackson] is that they want it so bad," Nagy said. "The bye week that they just had to be able to really spend some time on [recovering] is good.
"Like we have every week, we've got to have a plan if they are up and we've got to have a plan if they're not up. And that's where defensively for [coordinator] Sean [Desai], he's got to work through that and we've just got to see what [head trainer] Andre [Tucker] and then Khalil and Eddie tell us about themselves and we've got to be ready to go whichever direction it is."