Long to IR, could return for finale
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.