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Bears rookie Teven Jenkins inching closer to a return

Jenkins had surgery in mid-August after a back injury kept him from participating in a single training-camp practice. 

Teven Jenkins had back surgery in August.
Teven Jenkins had back surgery in August.
David Banks/AP

PITTSBURGH — Rookie left tackle Teven Jenkins appears to be moving closer to returning from injured reserve. In the hours before the game Monday at Heinz Field, he was put through a strenuous workout by trainer Jason Loscalzo. On Friday, Jenkins was spotted running up the hill behind the practice field at Halas Hall.

Jenkins had surgery in mid-August after a back injury kept him from participating in a single training-camp practice.

Two weeks ago, starting left tackle Jason Peters said he thought Jenkins would be “coming around in a couple more weeks.”

Last week, offensive line coach Juan Castillo said Jenkins had been working on his technique, albeit in slow motion, while out.

“It’s a muscle-memory situation,” he said. “It’s no different than you . . . printing it instead of cursive. It makes a difference to your body.”

If the Bears return Jenkins to practice, he figures to take the full three weeks to get into game shape. After that point, the Bears need to decide whether to activate him or lose him for the season. It remains at least possible that he could play in a game before the end of the season.

The Bears traded up to draft Jenkins in the second round and cut veteran Charles Leno three days later. They were prepared to make Jenkins the opening-day left tackle even though he rarely played there at Oklahoma State.

Desperate for a starter, the Bears signed Peters, the 39-year-old veteran, in August. He has made every start for them.

COVID list closed

For the first time since Oct. 14, the Bears don’t have a player left on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The team took offensive tackle Germain Ifedi off the list Monday afternoon, but he remains on injured reserve with a knee injury.

Over the previous three weeks, the Bears put the following players on the list, be it because they tested positive or were close contacts of someone who did: outside linebacker Robert Quinn, tight end Jimmy Graham, offensive tackle Elijah Wilkinson, inside linebacker Caleb Johnson and running back Damien Williams.

Coach Matt Nagy and receivers coach Mike Furrey also missed time after testing positive for the coronavirus.