The Bears offense could have one of its best players back when they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Matt Nagy announced that Montgomery would return to practice on Thursday, officially opening his 21-day window to rejoin the active roster.
“It's good timing if we are able to get him back and get him going because, also, he’s grown into such a tremendous leader for that offense,” Nagy said. “I think that part is sometimes when you’re not around as much, the guys, you miss that. And now to be able to get him back in those huddles and that stuff is great.”
Montgomery has been out since the end of Week 4 when he sustained a knee injury. Up to that point, he looked like he was set to have the best year of his career. Now, the Bears say he could on Monday if his knee responds well in the few days of practice leading up to the game.
“He’s so eager to get back,” Nagy said. “We’ll keep an eye on where he is and we’ll see how he looks. That will be key – to see how he looks. He’s gotta tell us how he feels and then we’ll just get a feel for it’s the best thing for us and him and if it is, and if he’s able to go and we feel good about it, he will be up and ready to rock and roll.”
In his stead, Khalil Herbert has pretty much picked up where Montgomery left off. The sixth-round draft pick has shown excellent field vision and patience in the four weeks that Montgomery missed, helping to keep the run game moving. In that time, Herbert racked up 344 rushing yards on 78 carries, good for a 4.4 YPC rate. He also scored one rushing touchdown.
Despite that success, Nagy said when Montgomery’s back, he won’t cede carries to the rookie.
“David’s worked extremely hard to be the running back on this football team, to be the guy,” Nagy said. “You guys all know how we feel about him and what he's done. He's a tremendous leader on this offense.
“It probably feels like forever to him and I know it feels like that for us too.”