Coming up with (what was essentially) a game-deciding interception against Aaron Rodgers should have been cause for celebration, but that wasn’t the case for safety Eddie Jackson.
After picking off a pass late in the fourth quarter of the Bears’ division-clinching win against the Packers, Jackson limped off the field with an apparent leg injury. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like it’s as bad as it initially looked.
Head Coach Matt Nagy told reporters after Sunday’s win that Jackson has a sprained right ankle and that the team hopes to know more within the next 24 to 48 hours. During his post-game press conference, Nagy expressed relief that it was just a right ankle sprain and nothing worse.
And for what it’s worth, Jackson expressed optimism regarding his situation with NFL Network reporter Stacey Dales:
Bears Safety Eddie Jackson just walked into the locker room with a walking boot on his right ankle. Told me it’s a right ankle sprain. He told me he’s gonna be okay.
— StaceyDales (@StaceyDales) December 16, 2018
Chicago has played it cautiously with players returning from injury this season, especially with its stars. Khalil Mack, Allen Robinson, and Mitch Trubisky each missed two games with injuries, even though there was a belief each could have played through the issue in the second week.
And because the Bears have clinched a postseason spot, a division title, and a playoff home game, you can expect the team to follow the status quo with Jackson (and rightfully so). Deon Bush filled in for Jackson at safety in the game’s closing moments and would be in line to join the starting lineup until Jackson is healthy enough to return.
The Bears can ill-afford to lose a potential Pro Bowl safety in Jackson for a lengthy amount of time, as he is the soul of the back-end of the defense. Play-making ball-hawks who have six interceptions and three defensive touchdowns don’t grow on trees and are hard to replace, but a non-severe ankle injury could mean Jackson could be back in the mix at some point this season.
We’ll continue to monitor Jackson’s status as information becomes available.