It’s been a busy week for Chicago Bears left guard Kyle Long – who was kicked out of practice for fighting (twice!) on Monday and was not at Wednesday’s session either – just not on the playing field.
But before you draw your own conclusions about today’s absence, the Bears clarified the situation:
Kyle Long had a doctor's appointment to look at his ankle today, but is expected at practice tomorrow, Fox said.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) August 16, 2017
It’s not as though missing practice due to an ankle injury is great news, but it could have definitely been worse. In fact, I’m a little more at ease now that I know Long’s absence wasn’t directly related to the recent fracas at practice (imaginations can be terrible things). Long’s health is a top priority for the Bears, but his presence as a team leader – especially on the offensive line – is very important. The combination of talent and drive make Long one of the most important pieces of the Bears puzzle.
In any case, Long has been eased into practice during training camp, sat out the preseason-opening loss against the Denver Broncos, and could sit out the entire preseason to ensure his health heading into the regular season.
Yes, the offense clicked with Mitch Trubisky under center against Denver without Long in the lineup, but that was – in part – because newly acquired lineman Tom Compton held his own at left guard and right tackle and earned a team-best 86.0 grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts.
Chicago bulked up its offensive line depth with the additions of veterans such as Compton, Taylor Boggs, and Bradley Sowell, late-round draft pick tackle-turned-guard Jordan Morgan, as well as undrafted free agents Mitchell Kirsch and Dieugot Joseph. The unit was dealt a tough blow when versatile swing man Eric Kush was lost for the season. The team signed Brandon Greene to fill his roster spot, adding to the mix of competition that could help cover for that loss.
Ideally, Long returns to practice on Thursday as expected and is all-systems go upon his return.