Bears Lose Key Starter, Top Rookie to Injuries at Training Camp

Germain Ifedi injury

Getty Head coach Matt Nagy of the Chicago Bears watches his players on the field during training camp.

It’s slow going for the Chicago Bears offensive line to start training camp. The Bears placed starting right tackle Germain Ifedi on the physically-unable-to-perform list after he sustained a hip flexor he during a conditioning test with the team. He will miss the start of training camp and will be out indefinitely, but could also return at any time.

“Germain Ifedi has a hip flexor. He tweaked it this morning in the conditioning test so he won’t be out there today,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said on July 28. “We’re checking him out just seeing where things are. We feel pretty good about it as far as sometimes you get those in these conditioning tests.”

The Bears have also been without left tackle Teven Jenkins to start training camp, as he sat the first several days dealing with back tightness. This injury isn’t a new one, as the rookie experienced some of the same symptoms last month. It is concerning, however.

As important as it is for the rookie to get some reps early on, Nagy noted on July 30 that while Jenkins wants to be out there, the team is keeping him back until team doctors give the OK for his return.

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How Did Ifedi’s Injury Happen?

How the veteran o-lineman injured his hip isn’t entirely clear. When asked about the conditioning tests he was referring to when speaking about Ifedi’s injury, Nagy said this:

“So they’re all a little bit different in different places. For us, it was more of 60-yard sprints. And then we do a bunch of them with some rest in between. We want to be somewhat smart, too, with guys coming on. We have the deal with Germain and I know Germain’s been working hard in the offseason so it’s just unfortunate. But I think he’ll be OK. But it gives you a little bit of a barometer as to, like, where are these guys and who are the outliers?”

Nagy also noted he didn’t think Ifedi’s hip flexor was “concerning,” noting that resting him now was “just kind of a part of the process and that’s that.”

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Bears Need Their Offensive Line to Step it Up This Year

With immobile veteran Andy Dalton the team’s presumed starter and rookie first-rounder Justin Fields the future of the franchise, the Bears need their o-line to play well this season — and beyond — if they ever want to be a serious contender.

Per Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times, former Denver Broncos starter Elijah Wilkinson has been a swingman at tackle since he signed with the Bears this offseason, playing “in front of Jenkins at left tackle and Ifedi at right tackle during OTAs.” With both ailing early on, Wilkinson is about to get a workout over camp.

“I came to camp to work my butt off and let the chips fall where they may,” Wilkinson said at the start of camp. “Being an undrafted guy, you never really know what’s going to happen — who’s going to start; who’s not. So you really can’t worry about that. You just gotta come to work and get your reps and make them count.”

With Ifedi’s and Jenkins’ returns both still up in the air, Wilkinson’s role will definitely be something to watch over the next several weeks.

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