This is about the last news the Chicago Bears and their fans wanted to hear. Second round offensive lineman Teven Jenkins, who the Bears moved up in the draft to nab this year, is going to undergo back surgery.
“In regards to Teven Jenkins, Teven’s going to be getting back surgery today. It’s a common procedure that’s done it’s going to be done locally,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy told the media on August 18. Jenkins hasn’t practiced with the team in months, with back tightness repeatedly given as the reason why. Nagy says the goal is to have him return before the end of the regular season, but that’s not a certainty.
“You know, we tried to avoid the surgery with him, and we tried several treatments, but the goal is to get him back this season. So that’s that’s the the most recent update with him,” Nagy said.
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Comparisons to Former 1st Round Bust Kevin White Have Emerged
The way Chicago downplayed Jenkins’ injury before revealing he was going to need surgery has reminded some fans and analysts of another not-too-distant draft pick whose career was curtailed by injuries: former first-round pick Kevin White.
While there are huge differences, there are also undeniable similarities.
White didn’t practice his rookie year, and ex-Bears coach John Fox told the media the wideout had shin splints. He was day-to-day for weeks before it was suddenly announced he was going to undergo surgery. All of these things parallel what has happened with Jenkins.
Bears insider Brad Biggs said this about the way this situation parallels White’s: “Nagy said at the outset of camp that Jenkins was sidelined with ‘back tightness.’ The coach indicated Jenkins was making progress at the one-week mark of camp but since has stopped giving an arrow-up indicator with Jenkins’ work off the field. It’s fair to be skeptical when considering the regime that drafted Kevin White in the first round in 2015 said shin splints were sidelining the wide receiver and before you knew it, he was out for the season.”
While Patrick Finely of the Chicago Sun-Times says it’s not fair to compare the two, as White was the seventh overall pick for Chicago, while Jenkins is a second-rounder, the situation “has similar vibes.”
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Nagy’s Inconsistent Statements About the Injury Didn’t Help
While there are some similarities between White’s and Jenkins’ injuries, Jenkins would have to miss the next several seasons to make it a legitimate comparison, as White only played in 17 games in the three regular seasons he was active for.
Still, much of why this reeks of the White situation to many fans is because of the way Nagy handled it with the media.
Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times laid out a great example of what Nagy said and when he said it regarding Jenkins’ back injury:
For his part, Jenkins said this in May, via Alyssa Barbieri of Bears Wire: “I definitely feel 100 percent ready, and it’s just because of my offseason workouts all the way up to this point and what I’ve been doing,” Jenkins said. “I’m working at my craft and my sets, and coming in here I’m starting to learn more technique, new technique. I’m trying to entwine that with what I’ve already learned, and I’m just trying to be ready.”
Nagy Says This Injury is ‘New’
When he was asked exactly what Jenkins’ back surgery would be addressing, Nagy replied thusly:
“What is it addressing? That would be something that you’d have to get into with with Dre (head trainer Andre Tucker) and the team of doctors,” Nagy said. “I can’t answer that.”
The Bears coach then revealed it was a new injury Jenkins will be having surgery on. “It’s something new so, this is something we are aware of, the back issues in college, but these are symptoms that are new, so that’s what we’re dealing with. He’s at a point right now where we were trying different things to to see that we could stay away from this and it was something that we ended up getting to this point right now,” he said.
“The word surgery, obviously everyone gets concerned. You don’t want to hear that, but the goal is to get him back here this year,” Nagy added.
When asked about a possible timetable for the rookie tackle’s return, Nagy didn’t get into specifics. “I can’t get into that because I don’t know,” he said. “It wouldn’t be fair to the kid, I don’t think either, to give an exact timeline but … the goal is to get him back this year.”