Bears

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Bears

Injury reports are not required at this time of season, and with no game for three months they wouldn’t mean a lot anyway. But one Bears absence for as-yet-undisclosed reasons might be creating a situation vaguely similar to one that unfolded with significance last season.

Ted Larsen, signed away from the Arizona Cardinals this offseason and installed at left guard to replace Matt Slauson, has not been seen at practice during minicamp. The effect has been that rookie Cody Whitehair, the Bears’ second-round pick in this year’s draft, has gotten invaluable practice time in his place on an in-progress No. 1 offensive line.

Players do not lose jobs because of injury; they lose jobs when the replacement player out-performs them with the unfortunate opportunity. Such was the case last season when left tackle Jermon Bushrod was sidelined with a shoulder injury. Charles Leno Jr. stepped in and played well, and Bushrod was out of a starting job.

Larsen has not lost anything to this point, the Bears are giving no reason for his absence from a mandatory minicamp, and the only condition that really matters is Larsen’s on Sept. 11 in Houston. But the Bears made Whitehair a No. 2 pick for a reason, and he has been one of the true bright spots on offense, insiders said.

“(Larsen is) doing what we feel is best for him right now to get him ready for the opener,” coach John Fox said.