The Bears’ Brian de la Puente, who started six games at guard and center this season in replacing two injured starters, is lost for the season with his own injury, the team said Wednesday.
He injured his ankle in Sunday’s win against the Buccaneers. Wednesday, he was placed on injured reserve, with the team promoting rookie defensive tackle Brandon Dunn from the practice squad.
The move means that Jordan Mills is all but certain to return to right tackle after missing the last two games with a ribs injury. Michael Ola will shift from right tackle to left guard.
The Bears signed de la Puente, a former Saints starter, to a one-year contract this offseason as insurance for center Roberto Garza. It took only one half for him to be needed — de la Puente replaced an injured Garza in Week 1 and started the next four games.
When Mills was injured against the Packers, de la Puente was inserted at left guard, where he started the last two games.
The Bears could be interested in keeping de la Puente next season, perhaps to replace Garza. They signed de la Puente to a $730,001 contract; the extra $1 allows them to negotiate an extension during the season.