Kevin White walked out of the Bears’ locker room with his left arm in a sling Sunday, weakening one of the league’s thinnest receiver corps and creating more doubt about whether the former No. 7 pick can live up to his draft status.
White injured his shoulder, coach John Fox said. It appears serious.
He’s now played five games since being drafted in 2015, and has finished only three. In his first game since shedding unlucky jersey No. 13, he left in the fourth quarter after catching two balls for six yards.
“You know, it’s frustrating,” said Josh Bellamy, who took White’s place and was close to making the game-winning catch in the 23-17 loss to the Falcons. “But hey, everybody goes through something for a reason. You can’t dwell on it too long.”
The Bears could least afford to lose a receiver. They played with only four Sunday; three of them, Deonte Thompson, Bellamy and White, each had fewer receiving yards all last season than Falcons star Julio Jones did in one 2016 game.
If White is lost for the season, he’ll join presumptive No. 1 receiver Cam Meredith, who tore his ACL in the third preseason game.
Quarterback Mike Glennon, then, isn’t left with much help on the outside.
Glennon’s passing attack was conservative Sunday. His receivers finished with nine catches for 82 yards; his tight ends and running backs had 17 for 131.
The lack of a go-to receiver since Alshon Jeffery left via free agency was apparent on the final four plays of the game. Glennon’s end-zone pass went off Bellamy’s hands. His next two incomplete passes went toward a running back and a tight end.
Glennon praised Bellamy, who caught a pass on fourth down earlier in the Bears’ final drive.
“I’m comfortable with those guys,” Glennon said. “[Thompson] was the next man up when Cam went down, and we’ll see what’s going on with Kevin. If there’s something, then Josh Bellamy will have to step up as well.”
Coach John Fox pointed to the Bears’ two inactive receivers, Markus Wheaton and Tre McBride, when asked about his depth. Wheaton, who signed a two-year, $11 million deal, is still recovering from pinkie surgery. He’ll help more than McBride, who has been with the team for one week since being claimed off waivers.
“One is learning the offense and one is getting healthy,” Fox said. “We’ll reload [Monday] and see what’s out there for next week.”
Bellamy put an optimistic slant on the Bears’ game plan, saying rushing success will make life easier on receivers.
“They’re going to run the ball and it’s going to open up the pass,” he said. “We love it. And I hope they continue to play the way they’re playing.”
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