It was unsettling to see Trey Burton’s name pop up on the injury report on Saturday night and disappointing when he was listed as inactive for Sunday’s game against the Eagles (to say the least, in retrospect).
The groin injury that flared up on Sunday ultimately kept Burton out of the lineup, which removed a key component and reliable pass-catcher for quarterback Mitch Trubisky to target. But even as Burton was out of action, there was some mystery to how it happened and why it was reported so late in the week. And I’m not sure we’re going to crack this case immediately.
Just asked Matt Nagy for some background on the Trey Burton injury. He said he woke up Saturday morning and his groin didn’t feel right. Burton went to the trainers right away. Team then added him to the report Saturday night – as things didn’t look good.
— StaceyDales (@StaceyDales) January 7, 2019
To hear Head Coach Matt Nagy tell the story, Burton felt pain in his groin and arrived to Halas Hall early on Saturday morning to get the injury looked at and worked on. It’s a wise move to get some early attention to an injury that flares up out of nowhere, even if it’s on short notice with a little more than 24 hours before kick-off.
With that said, Burton suggests he first noticed the discomfort on Friday:
Trey Burton tells us he experienced a little groin discomfort on Friday but didn’t think much of it. Woke up Saturday morning and his groin was “locked” and he could barely walk. It never improved over the weekend leading up to game time.
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) January 7, 2019
Trey Burton said of his groin injury: "My history of my body, that's what it does. It locks up when it feels any threat. That's kind of what happened to me. … I think it's just my body trying to protect itself."
— Chris Emma (@CEmma670) January 7, 2019
Either Burton was hurt during practice on Friday and didn’t tell anyone until Saturday (more likely) or he woke up spontaneously injured on Saturday morning (less likely). Obviously, injuries occur in Friday practices every once in a while, and you’d just prefer those injuries, however minor, to be reported as soon as possible. Either way, in this case, it doesn’t seem like there was much Burton could have done differently (plus, there’s not much reason to re-hash it at this point).
As for the injury, well, the body locking itself as a means of protection seems all sorts of uncomfortable. And unfortunately, this all led to a line of questioning regarding Burton’s mental stability heading into Sunday’s game. After all, a playoff game against Burton’s former team was going to have emotions running high, and this wasn’t the first time that issue has been raised.
If you’ll recall, the Bears conjured up their own version of the Philly Special play on their game-tying touchdown in what was an overtime loss to the Giants. The play originally called for Burton to reprise his role as the quarterback, but Burton got “crazy anxiety” during install and Nagy re-worked the play to have Tarik Cohen trigger the pass instead of Burton.
But when asked about his mental state, Burton said there were no anxiety issues related to his groin injury:
#Bears TE Trey Burton was asked if missing the wild-card game against his former team, the Eagles, was related to any anxiety-related issues:
“I don’t think so. I was in a really good spot mentally going into this game. I was extremely excited to play my former team."
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) January 7, 2019
Oof. The loss was a bitter enough pill to swallow. But for a player to deal with injuries and questions regarding his mental health makes it that much tougher.
One of the reasons behind the Bears’ turnaround story was that the team finally received some good fortune in the health department. Injuries ravaged the team under John Fox. And while it allowed the front office to scope out some potential depth pieces in some cases, the overall damage of not having starters in the lineup hurt more than it helped. So for it to rear its ugly head on Sunday was an unfortunate turn of events.
Here’s hoping an offseason of rest and recovery can put the Bears back in the playoff picture again for the 2018-19 season.