Sometimes the writing on the wall, in this case not participating in almost three weeks of training camp practice, doesn’t lie. Bears rookie Teven Jenkins will officially be having back surgery, according to head coach Matt Nagy.
Up until this point, the Bears were mum on Jenkins’ status. When Chicago began to gear up for the 2021 season, the offensive tackle had not practiced at all this August. Instead of being placed on the physically unable to perform list, he was still seen on the sidelines at Halas Hall going through his own occasional light stretches and drills — without pads, of course.
Now, as is often the case with back injuries, the last resort option of surgery is being taken to help Jenkins recover from an ailment that is clearly not improving the way the Bears had hoped. Chicago still hopes Jenkins will be able to return at some point this season, but is not offering a concrete timetable. At this stage, back surgery with no further detail or clarity is an indefinite stay on injured reserve. While it would be unlikely given the nature of Jenkins’ predicament and how the Bears will probably want to be cautious, the big man can make his NFL debut any time after Week 3 off of that mentioned reserve stay. In the meantime, long-time stalwart Jason Peters is expected to fill in and start for the Bears as Jenkins heals.
The Bears notably surrendered their second and third-round selections this year to trade back up to the No. 37 overall pick and draft Jenkins in the 2021 NFL Draft. Their hope was that he would be the immediate impact blindside protector for Justin Fields, slotting him in at left tackle from the outset. That ambitious plan for the rookie, provided Jenkins returns to form following surgery, will have to be put on hiatus.