By rule, the time to panic about early training camp injuries is only when they start to tread on meaningful games. If player is missing any time in early July and August but is good to go in the regular season, it’s no harm, no foul. For new additions working their way into a fresh defensive scheme, that panic might be dialed up to a two or three on a scale of 1-10, with 10 acting as an apocalypse that is fubar. It’s still nothing to ultimately be concerned about, but a watchful eye should be kept on the situation.
Take Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Bears’ latest safety opposite Eddie Jackson, for example.
During Sunday’s pre-training camp press conference, Bears general manager Ryan Pace announced that Clinton-Dix would begin training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform-list. According to Pace, the veteran safety and free agent signing from March is recovering from a sprained knee suffered at the end of veteran mini-camp last month. The Bears characterize the knee injury as minor. They’re being cautious before throwing one of their key contributors back into the fire before he’s ready.
If Clinton-Dix’s injury history is any indication, there should be no reason to worry. The sixth-year pro has played in all 16 games in four consecutive seasons with the Packers and Washington. The time to pull your hair out comes later, if it ever arrives.
In other notable pre-camp injury news, Pace also discussed the status of Trey Burton and Anthony Miller—two of the more important cogs in the Bears’ offensive machine. He anticipates both Burton and Miller will be fully locked and loaded when Chicago hits the field at Olivet Nazarene University on Friday.
Burton missed the Bears’ NFC Wild Card Game against the Eagles because of a groin injury. The veteran tight end subsequently underwent sports hernia surgery in May related to complications from said groin injury. A little under two months later, he hasn’t had any setbacks in his recovery. Miller, meanwhile, dealt with a nagging dislocated shoulder injury during his rookie campaign. A shoulder of which also bothered him in college at Memphis. Like Burton, Miller went under the knife to relieve some of the pain and issues caused by the shoulder. Miller might not be 100 percent healthy (by technical definition) during the early stages of camp, but he will at least be healthy enough to participate in most activities.
All things considered, having just one major player sidelined at the start of training camp should be viewed as a victory for the Bears. It’s manageable and allows them to start the meaty part of their summer unimpeded.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network, the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times. Follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski. You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.