The Chicago Bears’ injury luck isn’t getting any better.
Yesterday, the team announced that wide receiver Markus Wheaton had underwent an appendectomy, a procedure that could keep one of the team’s newest receivers out of action for a while – CSN Chicago’s Chris Boden reports Wheaton could be absent when the season begins. Wonderful.
Obviously, that’s not great news for Wheaton – who entered camp looking to stand out from the crowd of receivers on short-term, prove-it deals – or the quarterbacks, who are trying to build a rapport with new receivers on the roster.
Wheaton signed a two-year deal with the Bears this offseason, one of the team’s several attempts at rebuilding its receivers room by reallocating money to several potential pass-catching options that could have gone toward retaining Alshon Jeffery. Chicago already lacked top-end talent at receiver, but Wheaton fit a niche as a deep threat – something the team hasn’t had in recent years. Because of GM Ryan Pace’s busy offseason of hoarding depth pieces, the team has options to fill the void while Wheaton is sidelined.
Players such as Victor Cruz, Kendall Wright, and Tanner Gentry are three names who stand to benefit from increased snaps at practice. Head coach John Fox recently shared his vision of what he thought Cruz’s role would be, Wright enters camp as one of the most motivated players, and Gentry’s play in practice stood out during rookie mini-camp, as well as the first day of training camp.
Boden made note of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford as being a recent high-profile Chicago athlete to undergo such a procedure, which put him out of action for three weeks. However, the physical demands of a receiver in the NFL are different than those of a goaltender in the NHL. Ben Roethlisberger once missed 15 days after an appendectomy, so Wheaton could be back sooner rather than later, but it’s not something all that common and shouldn’t be expected.