On Thursday the Chicago Bears opened up the three-week practice window to evaluate offensive tackle Germain Ifedi and cornerback Duke Shelley. Ifedi was initially placed on injured reserve two months ago with a knee injury, and Shelley went to IR on November 23 with a hamstring issue. The evaluation process could be a short one, because with several active and practice squad players placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this week, they desperately need reinforcements.
The Bears are also dealing with a number of injuries right now, so if either player shows enough to be activated for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, don’t be surprised to see them slotted into the starting lineup.
Starting left tackle Jason Peters is dealing with a high ankle sprain, and starting right tackle Larry Borom is one the 12 Bears on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Swing tackle Elijah Wilkinson is also on the COVID list, so the only active tackles on the roster now are rookie Teven Jenkins, Lachavious Simmons, and Alex Bars. If Ifedi is ready he could end up starting on the right side.
The most recent starting nickelback, Xavier Crawford, is in concussion protocol, so if Shelly is good to go the Bears may need him in the slot on Monday.
On Thursday the Bears also signed defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai (6’4”, 320) to their practice squad for a second time. The Bears are Alufohai’s third team since being a UDFA of the Texans in 2020 after playing his college ball at Division II’s West Georgia, including a one week stint with Chicago back in September.
With a couple defensive linemen already out due to COVID protocols, and another two on the today’s injury list, it’s possible Alufohai and fellow practice squad d-lineman LaCale London are needed on Monday as well.
Here’s the Bears full injury report from Thursday.
#Bears Thursday injury report: pic.twitter.com/BgDAqH9nXZ— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) December 16, 2021
The seven Bears out with an illness do not have the coronavirus, but with the way players have been testing the last few days around the NFL, it might just be a matter of time.