Bears receiver Markus Wheaton may miss the start of the season


When the Bears took the field Sunday in Bourbonnais, Markus Wheaton was absent. 

We came to find out afterwards from head coach John Fox he underwent an appendectomy about 90 minutes before the team took the field after awaking overnight with abdominal discomfort. Fox cannot give a timetable for Wheaton's return, but one would think being full strength in time for the Sept. 10 regular season opener is in jeopardy.

Then again, the most famous Chicago athlete to undergo the procedure was Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who was able to return to action in three weeks this past December. The positive view is that it happened now, meaning his regular season won't be lost. The negative is that he misses valuable time learning to get in sync with the offense, Mike Glennon and the other three quarterbacks.

The appendix did not rupture, according to Fox, so the procedure was arthroscopic, which could also help the recovery time. But the physical football requirements are a little different than that of a goaltender.

Wheaton was signed to a two-year, $11 million deal in March ($6 million guaranteed) in hopes of providing a speed and vertical game element to a unit that's been sorely lacking in that area. He was coming off shoulder surgery that limited him to just three games with the Steelers in 2016.

Elsewhere on the injury front Sunday, offensive lineman Eric Kush left practice early with tightness in a hamstring, running back Bennie Cunningham participated in a non-contact jersey due to neck stiffness, and running back Jeremy Langford remained out of action after rolling his surgically-repaired ankle Thursday night. Guard Kyle Long returned to participate in some drills after sitting out Saturday with soreness in his surgically-repaired ankle.