It’s been bothering him all season, and the Bears have seen enough. Khalil Mack will miss Chicago’s contest against the 49ers this Sunday so he can rest a pervasive foot injury, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
For most of the year, Mack has been mainly playing through the injury, appearing as questionable or a limited participant in most injury reports throughout weeks before participating in games. The Bears would like to give him the chance to recover and get closer to 100 percent rather than continue pushing him through pain.
As such, a stay on injured reserve for three weeks for Mack isn’t out of the question. After their games against the 49ers and Steelers, the Bears have their bye week, leaving Mack at least a month to rest his foot before sustaining further punishment in meaningful action again. For a team on the fringe of the playoff picture at 3-4, it might behoove the Bears to have Mack on all cylinders for the second-half stretch run as opposed to seeing him fade away because of poor health.
As always, Mack’s absence, with players of his caliber, is a massive blow to an already ailing Bears team. Already without Akiem Hicks because of a groin injury, Chicago will now be without two of its front-line cornerstones. And fresh off a two-game losing streak, the Bears could use all hands on deck to stay the course. The Bears are not in an advantageous situation where they can afford to be without their very best players.
Of course, a development like this means players like Trevis Gipson will have continued opportunities to shine with expanded responsibility. The second-year edge rusher filled in for Robert Quinn against the Buccaneers in a full-time capacity last week. He’ll now have to do the same, while entrenched long-term, for Mack.
Everyone on the Bears defense will have to pick up the slack without the franchise player Mack in tow.