Bears missing several key players to injuries as season opener nears


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- As the Bears continue preparations for their regular-season opener against the 49ers on Sept. 11 at Soldier Field, they still have several key injuries looming over their work at Halas Hall.

That was evident Tuesday afternoon as the Bears practiced with just three of their seven wide receivers. Byron Pringle (quad), N’Keal Harry (ankle), Velus Jones Jr. (undisclosed) and Tajae Sharpe (undisclosed) were each sidelined from work, while Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis practiced.

“We feel good where we are,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said of the wide receivers. “We really do. Obviously, it doesn’t look good out there.

“We feel good where they are in terms of coming back and being available to us shortly. We’re in a good spot.”

The Bears have 12 days to get healthy before kicking off against the 49ers in Chicago. Pringle is hopeful to play in the opener, though time is no longer on his side in recovering. Pringle hasn't practiced since the start of training camp. He has been working with the Bears’ athletic training staff off to the side of practice. Jones and Sharpe are each considered day-to-day, Eberflus said.

The Bears are expected to place Harry on injured reserve Wednesday, which would require a minimum absence of four games while opening a spot on the roster. He suffered an ankle injury during practice on Aug. 6. The Bears are also expected to be active on the waiver wire beginning Wednesday, so they could add to their receiver corps. Chicago is slotted seventh in the waiver claim order.

Additionally, Bears center Lucas Patrick (right hand), safety Jaquan Brisker (right hand) and cornerback Jaylon Johnson (undisclosed) have each remained sidelined from practice.

Patrick has been present with the Bears during practices while wearing a brace on his injured hand. The goal has been for him to be medically cleared ahead of the opener, but given the importance of a healthy snapping hand for a center, Patrick can’t play at less than 100%. Sam Mustipher would start in his place. Eberflus also didn't rule out the possibility of Patrick playing right guard once healthy.

The rookie Brisker previously underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand, and the Bears believe he'll be ready to start in the opener. Throughout training camp, safety Eddie Jackson has been the Bears’ lone projected starter in the secondary who has been healthy.

The Bears are scheduled to release their first formal injury report next week, which should give a clearer indication of the team’s health heading into the regular season.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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