Long to IR, could re­turn for fi­nale

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - TOP OF THE SECOND - — Colleen Kane

BUF­FALO, N.Y. — The Bears placed right guard Kyle Long on in­jured re­serve Satur­day, a day be­fore the team takes on the Bills at New Era Field.

Per NFL rules, the Bears could ac­ti­vate Long af­ter eight weeks. That would be the day be­fore the reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale on Dec. 30 against the Vikings in Min­neapo­lis. He would also be avail­able for a pos­si­ble play­off run if he has re­cov­ered by then.

Long in­jured his right foot in the fi­nal min­utes of the Bears’ 24-10 vic­tory over the Jets on Sun­day at Soldier Field when tight end Dion Sims landed awk­wardly on Long’s leg in a pile of play­ers. Long re­quired trainers to help him off the field be­cause he couldn’t put weight on his right leg.

He was in a walk­ing boot this week at Halas Hall and used a scooter to get around.

The Bears signed run­ning back Taquan Mizzell from the prac­tice squad to take Long’s spot on the ac­tive ros­ter. Mizzell, a sec­ond-year player whom the Bears ac­quired off waivers from the Ravens last year, played just two snaps on of­fense and par­tic­i­pated in eight spe­cial teams plays in 2017.

Long, the Bears’ 2013 first-round draft pick and a Pro Bowler in each of his first three sea­sons, suf­fered a sea­son-end­ing right an­kle in­jury in 2016 that forced him to miss eight games and re­quired surgery on mul­ti­ple lig­a­ments and ten­dons. He also ended the sea­son on in­jured re­serve last year be­fore hav­ing shoul­der, neck and el­bow surg­eries.

Bears coach Matt Nagy said Long’s cur­rent in­jury is un­re­lated to the 2016 an­kle in­jury. Nagy didn’t of­fer full de­tails on Long’s in­jury be­yond say­ing there was an is­sue with a ten­don but that the Achilles ten­don is not dam­aged.

Nagy didn’t re­veal how the Bears will re­shape their line with Long out. Rookie guard James Daniels started for the first time against the Jets af­ter split­ting time at left guard with Eric Kush.

Also Satur­day, the Bears said tight end Ben Brau­necker (con­cus­sion) and de­fen­sive line­man Bi­lal Ni­chols (knee) did not travel and will not play.

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