Bears training camp has been beset by injuries that had as many as 16 players with some sort of injury. None, however, had reached the level as a torn right ACL reportedly suffered by center Hroniss Grasu during Saturday’s Bears practice at Soldier Field, sources said.
Grasu had made significant progress through the offseason and early going of camp, moving to secure the center position after rookie season that saw him start eight games but miss three games with a neck injury and then game 16 with a knee injury.
A torn ACL typically marks the end for the season, and whether Grasu is done for 2016 or could return, the Bears will be making roster tweaking. Veteran Ted Larsen has started 10 games at center while a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but has not started at the position since 2013. Rookie Cody Whitehair has taken practice snaps at center and Cornelius Edison, the FCS Rimington Award given to the top center in center and a member of the Bears’ practice squad late last season.
Grasu was the Bears’ third-round pick in the 2015 draft and was pressed into service when veteran Will Montgomery was lost for the year with a broken arm. The Bears had brought in retired NFL center Kevin Mawae to work with Grasu during training camp and indications were growing that Grasu was taking the next step toward become a fixture in a youthful Bears offensive line that projects to be together for some time.
The situation confronts the still-forming offense of coordinator Dowell Loggains with yet another continuity concern. Quarterback Jay Cutler was forced to work with three different centers (Grasu, Montgomery, Matt Slauson) last year alone and now, with the first preseason game on for Thursday against the Denver Broncos, the offense has another personnel switch to handle.