BOURBONNAIS — For wide receiver Allen Robinson, it was hard to watch the Bears play the Bengals from the sideline on Thursday. But he has been through worse.
“Not just Thursday night — the past year,” said Robinson, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the Jaguars’ opener last season. “Try watching the AFC Championship Game. I mean, it’s been tough, man. I’m excited to get back out there and play.”
That will happen this week. Robinson, who has been given routine rest days during training camp, will participate in the Bears’ joint practices in Denver and will play Saturday against the Broncos. He sat out the first two preseason games.
“It’s something I’m ready for and excited for,” Robinson said Sunday.
“It’s been awhile. I’ve put the work in every day, trying to get better and perfect my craft.”
Robinson said he hasn’t had any setbacks in training camp after being limited during the team’s offseason program. He appreciates the prudent ways the Bears have monitored his injury.
He’s finally at the point where he doesn’t think about his knee when he runs. The next step is to play against opponents.
“For the most part, it’s just been polishing certain cuts,” he said. “This game is a big muscle-memory game. You’ve gotta get out here, you’ve gotta do stuff and you’ve gotta do it against different looks and different things like that.
“You can go through as much drill work and as many cones and as many types of obstacle-course-like drills in the offseason, but until you actually get up against defenders and see different looks and have to react differently, that’s really where it comes in.
‘‘It’s really been getting that muscle memory back and things like that. I’ve been confident since Day 1.”
The Bears made a substantial investment — $42 million over three years — in Robinson despite the knee injury, and they’ve been happy with the results.
“Allen treats every day like it’s his last day,” coach Matt Nagy said. “When he’s out here, he’s running in and out of the huddle. When he’s not in the play, he’s into the play on the sideline. In meetings, nothing changes. He doesn’t have the highs and lows. He’s consistently good at what he does.”
The Bears will ramp up Robinson’s work, Nagy said, in anticipation of Week 1. Nagy already is daydreaming about exactly where he’ll fit into their scheme.
“Now that you start getting to a point of slowly starting to game-plan here and there, your mind starts playing a little bit with where you’re going to put him,” Nagy said. “It’s fun.”