Throughout training camp, the injury bug has bit the Chicago Bears more than most expected. Chicago’s injury list didn’t get shorter on Wednesday due to the return of guard James Daniels and linebacker Roquan Smith, it got longer when head coach Matt Nagy announced that rookie offensive tackle Teven Jenkins would be out indefinitely after undergoing back surgery.
Jenkins status has been a question mark for the Bears since the start of training camp roughly four weeks ago. Originally thought to be back tightness, when Jenkins began missing extended periods of time, it was clear that the second-round pick was dealing with more than just back tightness.
“You know we tried to hope to avoid the surgery with him, and we tried several treatments, but the goal is to get him back this season so that’s the most recent update with him,” head coach Matt Nagy said via the Bears official YouTube channel.
Essentially, the Bears hoped that Jenkins wouldn’t need surgery, which was clearly viewed as a last resort. When it became apparent that surgery was the only option, Nagy finally opted to disclose Jenkins true status to the media.
How Jenkins injury was handled shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The Bears have been known to dodge questions regarding injuries when it comes to key players. In 2019, tight end Trey Burton missed all of training camp after an offseason surgery. Burton would play in just five games in 2019 but have just 14 receptions before the Bears eventually shut him down.
No timetable has been set for Jenkins possible return, however, Nagy doesn’t sound too optimistic when discussing whether Jenkins could play in 2021. The worst-case scenario is that Jenkins misses his rookie season and watches from the sideline in order to have an opportunity to see the field in 2022, likely the earliest Jenkins NFL debut happens.
“You know we tried to hope to avoid the surgery with him, and we tried several treatments, but the goal is to get him back this season,” Nagy said.
The Bears messed up handling the Jenkins situation. by not opting for surgery when the problem really began to get serious. Now Chicago has created a hole that will be hard to fill due to uncertainty at who the starting left tackle will be, a role that many expected Jenkins to solidify after being drafted.