When David Montgomery slipped during practice Aug. 26, the initial thought was: Uh oh, did the Bears just lose their starting running back for the season?
It turned out Montgomery suffered a groin injury, with a reported recovery timetable of two to four weeks. Based on Wednesday’s injury report – the first of the season – there’s a chance Montgomery returns on the early side of that timetable.
As in: Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Montgomery was listed by the Bears as limited during Wednesday’s practice. Thursday and Friday's practices will be critical for his Week 1 status, though: If he's full go in one of them, he'll be full go against the Lions.
Coach Matt Nagy declined to discuss Montgomery’s status prior to Wednesday’s practice at Halas Hall, only saying with a grin the second-year back “is going to have a helluva stretch practice today.”
Running back Tarik Cohen, though, did discuss where Montgomery is in his recovery – and it’s an encouraging take:
“I feel like the injury was a bigger deal in the media than it really was here,” Cohen said. “He bounced back off of that so fast, it’s like it never happened. He’s already back doing the things you love to see him doing, running hard and just making that first person have a tough day tackling him.”
If Montgomery is not available Sunday, though, the Bears seem content to ride out his absence with Cohen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Ryan Nall and perhaps undrafted rookie Artavis Pierce, who was one of four practice squad players the team protected (meaning they can’t be signed to another team’s active roster). But if Montgomery can go against the Lions, the Bears’ offense will be better for it.
Perhaps more concerning, though, was outside linebacker Robert Quinn’s absence from practice Wednesday with what’s listed as an ankle injury. Quinn hasn’t been present at practice in over a week, and didn’t participate in team drills during training camp until an Aug. 29 scrimmage at Soldier Field. General manager Ryan Pace on Monday, though, tried to alleviate concerns about Quinn’s lack of preseason work.
“He's such a vet,” Pace said. “Obviously he's one of our more experienced players. The best thing he does is get after the quarterback and rush the passer so it's not like you know there's a ton of Xs and Os necessarily with some of that -- just get off the ball and get the corner. But we feel good about where he is from knowing our defense even if he has had a little bit of a short training camp.”
Also limited in Wednesday’s practice: outside linebacker Khalil Mack (knee), running back Cordarrelle Patterson (kneel), offensive lineman Jason Spriggs (knee) and wide receiver Javon Wims (achilles).
Some good news, though: Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks was not on the Bears’ injury report, indicating he’s ready to go for Week 1 despite a near-two-week absence during training camp with a quad injury.