The Bears placed guard Kyle Long on injured reserve Tuesday, officially creating an opening on an offensive line that has struggled to block on run plays this season.
Long had been dealing with a hip injury that forced him to miss the Vikings win. He returned for the Raiders loss, playing every snap.
“It’s a tough situation, just because of what he’s been going through and where he’s at,” coach Matt Nagy said after Monday’s practice.
Long was clearly affected by the injury.
“It’s there,” Nagy said. “Kyle will tell you that you can see it. There’s plays that jump out … where it doesn’t seem like him.”
Long will not play again this season. The Bears don’t intend to bring him back off IR, even though each team is given two players who are eligible to return.
The Bears have three candidates to replace Long — veteran Ted Larsen, third-year converted defensive lineman Rashaad Coward and rookie Alex Bars.
A Notre Dame alum who played for current Bears offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, Bars is on the practice squad. It appears he’ll stay there for a while — the team announced that defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson was promoted from the practice squad to take Long’s place. He’ll help account for the loss of Akiem Hicks, who hurt his elbow against the Raiders.
TIght end Dax Raymond, who spent training camp with the team, was signed to the practice squad.
Long’s future with the franchise is in doubt. He renegotiated his contract this offseason, but the Bears seem unlikely to pick up his 2020 option.
A first-round pick in 2013, Long was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons. He was put on injured reserve in each of his next four.