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Bears are down to just 2 healthy drafted rookies

Rookie running back Kerrith Whyte missed his first practice Thursday with what coach Matt Nagy dubbed two different injuries: a hamstring problem and a foot sprain.

David Montgomery runs during Thursday’s practice at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.
Brian O’Mahoney/For the Sun-Times

BOURBONNAIS — The Bears are down to two healthy draftees.

Running back Kerrith Whyte missed his first practice Thursday with a hamstring problem and a foot sprain, according to coach Matt Nagy.

“It might be just a little bit of time,” he said.

Cornerback Stephen Denmark, a fellow seventh-round pick, remains out with an ankle problem that figures to stretch into next week, at least.

“He’s not too close, but it’s nothing that I’m real concerned about,” Nagy said.

The two join receiver Riley Ridley, a fourth-rounder who has been out since hurting his hamstring during the Bears’ first training-camp practice on July 26.

Of the team’s draft picks, only third-round running back David Montgomery and sixth-round cornerback Duke Shelley practiced.

“I think right now, the draft class we have, they’re all really high-character guys and they get it, so there’s going to be these injuries,” Nagy said. “But I know Riley Ridley right now — just using him as an example — he’s doing everything in his power to get back. But we’re going to have to hold him back so that when he comes back, he doesn’t reinjure it.”

Shaheen back — kinda

Adam Shaheen returned to the practice field — in a limited capacity — for the first time since Saturday. The third-year tight end is fighting a sore back.

Shaheen stretched with the team and did individual work but took off his pads and helmet when it was time for team drills. That was the Bears’ plan, Nagy said, reiterating that they will be cautious with the injury.

Shaheen played only six games — and was limited in them — after hurting his right foot and ankle last preseason against the Broncos.

“He was really arrow-up going into last year’s preseason, and then he had that bad injury,” Nagy said. “And now here we are, and he hasn’t been out here a whole lot, so we’ve got to get him back on track.”

This and that

Nagy said converted offensive tackle Bradley Sowell is “probably doing a little bit better than what I imagined” in his transition to tight end. He was impressed that Sowell, a golf nut, didn’t play a single round during the five-week gap between the end of the offseason program and training camp because he was so focused on losing weight.

“He’s thinner, he kept his strength, and the kid wants it more than anybody,” Nagy said. “So as long as you have that, we’re going to be patient. . . . He’s running routes, and he’s an offensive tackle. And he’s doing good. So I’m really looking forward to what he does in these preseason games. It’s going to be a big preseason for him.”

The Bears will have live tackling during practice Friday, Nagy said.