The Chicago Bears are taking precautionary measures when dealing with the health of star pass-rusher Khalil Mack:
Matt Nagy says Khalil Mack will be on a similar schedule this week as to last week. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) October 31, 2018
In preparation for the team’s Week 8 game against the New York Jets, the Bears kept Mack off his feet. He didn’t practice last Wednesday or Thursday and was limited in Friday’s practice before the team ultimately held him out of Sunday’s game entirely. It was the first time Mack was inactive for a regular season game in his career, but the Bears still found a way to beat the Jets – thanks mostly to an impressive all-around showing by the (the top rated in the NFL) defense.
It’s not that Mack can’t play through an injured ankle – he proved that by playing as much as he did against the Miami Dolphins when he suffered the injury and against the New England Patriots, after taking some practice time to rest up – but the Bears have to consider how to best keep Mack healthy for the most important stretch of the season, especially now that they’ve threatened as a legitimate postseason contender. And while every game is certainly important, there are some big ones that will have direct implications in the NFC North and conference playoff races moving forward (5 of the 8 games the Bears play after Week 9 are against NFC North teams, including 3 in a row from Weeks 10-12).
Prior to Sunday’s game, CBS Sports sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson said Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy told her Mack was about 70 percent before the Jets game and that it wasn’t worth the risk. And with divisional opponents coming up in the three weeks that follow Sunday’s contest against the Bills, it would make sense for the Bears to keep on keepin’ on when it comes to Mack’s health.
MICHAEL: And all of this, of course, is not to mention the fact that Mack, 27, signed a six-year, $141M contract extension with the Bears just before the season. in other words, while this season matters a great deal, the Bears must keep the longterm in mind.