Bears’ training-camp injury concerns: WR Anthony Miller, TE Trey Burton
It’s still going to be awhile before Trey Burton is back to normal, and Anthony Miller left practice hobbling.
BOURBONNAIS — As the Bears’ offense tries to get on track, two key pieces of the passing game are in question.
Wide receiver Anthony Miller went down with a foot or ankle injury in practice Saturday morning, adding a concern as the team slowly works tight end Trey Burton back into the mix.
Miller landed awkwardly after making a catch during a one-on-one drill against fourth-string cornerback Michael Joseph and hobbled as he left the field with a trainer.
Miller tweeted, “I’m good,” with a thumbs-up emoji shortly after the injury but deleted it within minutes. Coach Matt Nagy didn’t seem worried about the injury.
“I think he rolled it,” Nagy said. “We’ll see. He’ll be all right — I hope so, at least. We’ll see how tough he is.”
The Bears have their last practice in Bourbonnais on Sunday, then practice twice at Halas Hall before visiting the Giants on Friday. Miller started and played seven snaps in the preseason opener.
He rehabbed from shoulder surgery in the offseason and arrived at training camp intent on building off a rookie season of 33 catches, 423 yards and seven touchdowns.
Burton is an even more important piece for the Bears, especially considering their lack of proven players at tight end, and it might be awhile before he’s ready to play. In fact, Nagy hinted that he doesn’t plan to use him in preseason games as the team prioritizes getting him back to full speed by the season opener.
Burton returned to practice Saturday after missing more than a week. He went through individual work at the beginning but stepped away before team drills.
“I can’t stand sitting on the sideline and not playing,” Burton said. “It’s really, really been frustrating from that standpoint, but I know there’s a bigger picture in mind.”
Burton suffered a sports-hernia injury before the Bears’ playoff loss to the Eagles last season, but it was not diagnosed as such until later. The surgery disrupted his offseason training, and that has affected him in camp.
He was cleared to return for the first practice of camp and is thought to be recovered from the injury but will need time to regain his speed, strength and endurance.
“He’s just taking it slow,” Nagy said. “We want to make sure he’s right for Sept. 5. Quite honestly, I could not care less about the preseason. . . . We have to sometimes protect the player from the player, and that’s what we’re kind of doing.”
Any missed games by Burton could spell trouble. He’s coming off a breakthrough season of 569 yards and six touchdowns on 54 catches, and no one else at the position has been near that level of production. He played 80 percent of the offensive snaps last year.
Adam Shaheen, who has fought a back injury in camp, is next in line behind Burton as a pass-catching tight end. He played six games last year and had five catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Burton considers this the most challenging injury he has ever faced — worse than when he broke his ankle in high school — and the choppy recovery of feeling fine one day and struggling the next has been exasperating.
“I’m having to be held back,” Burton said. “They’re telling me, ‘No, you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ which I understand, but I don’t like it.”
The Bears also practiced without safety Deon Bush (excused for personal reasons) and cornerback Kevin Toliver (missed the preseason opener because of illness), as well as wide receiver Emanuel Hall and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (both unspecified injuries).