Some Encouraging Bears Health Updates For Justin Fields and Darnell Mooney
I know the Injury Bear image is a sight no one wants to see. Particularly not during the offseason. And definitely not when the vibes are riding high. The Chicago Bears are having a productive offseason headlined by a mega trade and a strong NFL Draft weekend. So I understand that injuries aren’t necessarily top of mind at the moment. But, hey, there is good news to share. And on multiple fronts (including Justin Fields).
First, we’ll start with QB1.
The last time Justin Fields suited up for the Bears was Week 17. In that game, Fields was sacked seven times and took nine QB hits from five different Lions defenders. It was ugly and painful to watch, so I imagine it was more painful to experience live. Days later, Fields was shut down, made inactive for Chicago’s season finale, and began an offseason of rest and rehabilitation.
At our last check-in during April, Fields was “much healthier than he was at the end of the season,” when reporting to the offseason training program. Which, to me, is good news (even if it seems inconsequential at this point of the calendar because games of consequence are so far away). Nevertheless, I’ll gladly accept even the smallest bits of good news. And the follow up seems to be even more good news.
Up until now, he’s been limited physically in what he can do as he rehabs a couple of injuries from last year. But he’s getting to the point now where he can do just about everything he needs to and should be a go when full OTAs start for Chicago on May 22.
OK, so Fields is healthy. But he isn’t quite at full strength just yet. Maybe we shouldn’t expect him to be. Think about what Fields’ offseason entails. It’s not just rest and recovery anymore. The offseason is about making improvements, fine-tuning your game, and getting your mentals in order ahead of the grueling NFL season to come. The takeaway here is that the expectation is Fields will be a full-go when OTAs get going in May.
Hopefully, we’ll get to say the same thing about one of Fields’ top targets.
Darnell Mooney, who had season-ending ankle surgery late last season, has a climb of his own to make. But it sounds like his rehab assignment is going well:
Mooney was a star for this offense in 2021. Putting up his first 1,000-yard receiving season and establishing himself as a reliable target for Fields was important. But Mooney getting off to a slow start last year and suffering a season-ending injury in Week 12 kept him from having a repeat performance. That Bears Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert is holding out hope that Mooney will be ready to roll for training camp gives us a better window into when to expect a return. And while training camp seems like a long wait, I’d rather Mooney take his time and be ready for Week 1 instead of rushing back for the sake of being back sooner.
Again, player health updates aren’t usually top of mind this time of year. But I’m definitely making an exception for Fields and Mooney. Those are two key cogs in the Bears’ offensive machine. That their health is trending upward is an encouraging sign.