A spirited effort until the very last play of a 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons doesn't mean the Chicago Bears came out unscathed. For some, like Kevin White, when it rains it pours.
According to ESPN's Dan Graziano, the Bears fear White broke his collarbone and will require season-ending surgery. The play occurred around the midway point of the fourth quarter when White caught a pass on a broken play for no gain from quarterback Mike Glennon against multiple Atlanta defenders.
**Update: NFL Network's Ian Rapoport has officially confirmed Graziano's original report and White will head to injured reserve. EDITORS NOTE: Further diagnosis showed the injury to be a broken scapula ( shoulder blade on the back side of his shoulder). See Lester’s article Kevin White to injured reserve, but is a return this season a possibility? for more details.
This news can't get any worse overall for both White and the Bears. If this is indeed a season-ending injury, White will have appeared in just five games across three seasons after being drafted No. 7 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. At some point, a raw and physical talent such as White needs to be able to stay on the field and develop consistency. The Bears needed White to finally live up to his original draft status and become the playmaker they believe he can be but now that might never happen.
As far as the Bears' whole roster perspective, White's loss makes an already thin receiving core that much more barren. Typically it isn't Deonte Thompson and Joshua Bellamy time in Chicago until at least midseason, but that was the case Sunday afternoon against Atlanta with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. White's injury puts a gigantic magnifying glass on an offense lacking dynamic playmakers down field.
Though, the Bears do have potential options on this front.
An eventual return from new addition Markus Wheaton, who broke his pinky late in training camp, along with a low-level trade or perhaps even early call-up of the fan favorite rookie undrafted free agent Tanner Gentry - who had an excellent camp - could be the answers Chicago seeks to fill the void.
Other injury notes include linebacker Jerrell Freeman entering the concussion protocol and tailback Benny Cunningham injuring his ankle in the second quarter. Cunningham was carted off the field and didn't return. There are no further updates on either player at the moment.
Nevertheless, this was to finally be the year White put on some level of a showcase for his play and what he could do on a professional football field. 2017 was going to be the season he showed he could stay on the field and at least go down fighting trying to prove himself. Instead, he will have appeared in just five games over three seasons while making 19 receptions for 187 yards in his career to this point.
Football can be a cruel game for some. White won't be the last to suffer this heartbreaking fate, because in actuality, football is cruel and cold-blooded to most who play it.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.