Remember that injury luck the Bears enjoyed in the first few weeks of the season? It can’t have lasted forever. Have no fear, it still isn’t that egregious of a health issue.
In the midst of a gritty win in Arizona on Sunday, Chicago lost both Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and Anthony Miller (dislocated shoulder) to injury. Amukamara did not feature on the last few Cardinals possessions of the game as Sherrick McManis was forced to play in his place. McManis had to play as Marcus Cooper also has a hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Miller attempted to play through his shoulder ailment multiple times before the Bears eventually reneged and pulled him in the final stanza.
On Wednesday, with the Bears beginning their preparations for Tampa Bay in earnest, none of this trio participated in practice. That status, while still early in the week, clouds their play in for Sunday’s matchup.
In the event that both Amukamara and Cooper miss Sunday’s game, it’ll be interesting to see who the Bears play in their place against the Buccaneers’ NFL-leading passing offense. Does defensive coordinator Vic Fangio go with McManis again? Do the Bears play less of a nickel defense? Whatever happens, Chicago’s secondary depth will undoubtedly be tested.
While with Miller, he will eventually need surgery on his shoulder, it’s just a matter of when the Bears decide it’s best for him to do so. Luckily Chicago has a wider assortment of playmakers on offense to rely on should Miller miss an extended period in the meantime.
With a crucial bye week looming, an educated guess proposes the Bears hold out each of Amukamara, Miller, and Cooper with recognition of the roughly three weeks of rest it would afford each player. There’s no point in rushing injuries that could become that much more serious if unnecessarily pushed. An NFL season is a marathon not a sprint, and the Bears would be well-served to use their early bye week as a worthy rest stop.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.