Markus Wheaton Not Expected To Play, Kyle Long's Ankle Injury Is Reportedly "Not Promising"

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Markus Wheaton Not Expected To Play, Kyle Long’s Ankle Injury Is Reportedly “Not Promising”

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears were dealt with a double whammy of bad news regarding two players listed as questionable for Sunday’s Week 1 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons:

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is the bearer of bad news regarding the health status of left guard Kyle Long and wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Long’s surgically repaired ankle hasn’t come along as quickly as hoped or expected. There was a time back in August when it was believed Long was “on target” to play against the Falcons, but then the winds shifted when Long told reporters he might not play at all during the preseason, and head coach John Fox inserted a hint of optimism at the end of August. Long did not practice earlier this week, but was upgraded to questionable after being listed as a limited participant.

The preseason absence of a three-time Pro Bowl lineman moved Cody Whitehair to guard and allowed Hroniss Grasu to slide into some first-team reps at his original position. If Long doesn’t play, the Bears will likely lineup with Whitehair at left guard and Grasu at center until Long is healthy enough to give it a go.

There was a glimmer of hope Wheaton would recover quicker than expected from a broken pinkie finger suffered during the last day of public practice at training camp. Like Long, Wheaton was a non-participant in practice on Wednesday, but practiced on Thursday and Friday. It looked like he could be inching his way back onto the playing field when he was practicing with regulation NFL footballs late in the week, upgrading from practicing with Nerf footballs.

An already thin group of receivers can’t afford to lose Wheaton for an extended period of time.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.