Bears guard Kyle Long’s right ankle looked ugly. It was swollen and discolored with shades of red, blue and purple. His teammates asked how he was doing.
That was the scene in the Bears’ locker room at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday afternoon. One of the Bears’ stars was severely injured.
On Monday, coach John Fox didn’t provide an update on Long’s injury, only saying that a “full determination” wasn’t made.
“I can’t really comment on that until we get all the information back,” Fox said.
But Long is expected to miss significant time. An NFL Network report said that Long will be out for the remainder of the season.
And that might be the best course of action for the Bears.
There is no point for Long to take the field again this season. The Bears are a disaster at 2-7. They don’t need to evaluate Long. He’s already one of the best guards in the NFL.
Long’s long-term future is of the utmost importance, and general manager Ryan Pace will keep that in mind. After all, Pace described Long as “a big piece of the foundation we are building” when the Bears announced that Long was signed to a four-year extension. It’s a deal that’s worth $40 million, including $18 million guaranteed.
It’s been a rough and tumble season for Long. He has been dealing with a labrum issue in his left shoulder since the preseason.
Although Long hasn’t been limited by a brace in games, he indicated last week that surgery is an option for his shoulder, saying it’s “something that I’m dealing with until I get it taken care of.”
Long also sat out the Bears’ 20-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8 because of a triceps injury.
“[It’s] tough stretch for him, battling through some things,” tight end Zach Miller said. “The guy shows a ton of toughness. [He’s] athletic as they make them on the [offensive] line. He’s a cornerstone of what we do.”
And he’s a cornerstone that requires some repair.
“He’s battled through a lot of injuries,” Miller said. “It’s just a testament of how he is as a person and a player. He’s one of the toughest as they come.”