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Bears center Hroniss Grasu closer to return from neck injury

When it comes to making progress with his neck injury, Bears rookie center Hroniss Grasu considers being able to wear a helmet again a good start.

“Yeah, right?,” a smiling Grasu said after practice at Halas Hall on Wednesday. “It’s just nice to be able to run around out there and do everything that I could do. I’m just waiting for what the doctors have to say.”

Grasu was officially listed as limited on the injury report. He was limited every day last week and didn’t play against the Rams. But Grasu said he has been able to do more every day since injuring his neck early in the preparations for the Vikings in Week 8.

When Grasu is cleared, a shakeup of the offensive line may follow. Matt Slauson has performed admirably at center, but a move back to left guard, where Vladimir Ducasse has started the past three games, might be best for the line as a whole.

“Mentally, I’ll be fine when I come back,” said Grasu, who started against the Chiefs and Lions. “I just have to get physically ready.”

Grasu has regained mobility in his neck, an important factor for a center who has to scan the field.

“I have to look everywhere,” Grasu said. “I have to keep my head on a swivel. I just have to get my confidence back, which won’t be a problem and just play how I usually do.”

Grasu said he and the Bears would remain extra cautious with his injury.

“Because it’s your neck,” Grasu said. “You don’t mess with that. It was a scary thing. But I really respect what the training staff here did and all the doctors of just being safe with it. You don’t want to mess with it.”

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com