Kevin White’s practice window opened Tuesday, but the door to game action remained where it’s been all season: mostly closed.
White stretched and did light work after the Bears, on the latest possible day, began a 21-day period where their rookie can practice as he recovers from left shin surgery.
At the end of three weeks, the Bears must either activate the wide receiver or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
The latter seems the likely outcome.
The Bears have neither the desire nor motivation to rush their No. 7 overall pick back — regardless of any playoff implication, coach John Fox said — after he had a rod inserted to stabilize his left tibia Aug. 23. White was placed on the physically unable to perform list in training camp before being lifted from it Tuesday.
White — who said he feels the screws in his leg more than the rod — said he’s not yet running at full speed.
“Not back to normal, not just yet,” he said. “But it’s definitely better than it was two weeks ago or than it was last week. It’s getting stronger and I’m getting more comfortable with it. So I guess that’s all I can ask for.”
He hopes to regain strength in his left quad and accuracy in his route running.
“Just being back out there, just getting accustomed back to the game,” he said. “Really just to be back playing with my guys.”
White wants to return to games this season, but said that he’ll “roll with the punches” if he does not.
“I’m not closing the door on anything,” he said. “I’ve just got to be smart with it. If I’m feeling good and I’m ready to go, then I guess we’ll have to see.”
He and the Bears know that perhaps the greatest benefit from the window is getting him used to NFL practices. Because White first felt the stress fracture in his shin during organized team activities, he’s never really gone through a steady pro practice regimen.
“He’s not ready to play at this minute,” Fox said, “but he’s able to be out here and participate.”
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase called White “an explosive guy that can create big plays after short throws,” as well as a downfield threat.
Until he’s healthy, though, the Bears know that’s merely a scouting report.
“We’ll just kind of see if that comes true,” Gase said.
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