Bears put RB Khalil Herbert on injured reserve

The NFL’s best rushing offense will have to make do without its leading running back for four weeks, if not longer.

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Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert runs the ball during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Bears running back Khalil Herbert is headed to injured reserve after hurting his hip during Sunday’s loss to the Lions.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The NFL’s best rushing offense will have to make do without its leading running back for four weeks, if not longer.

The Bears put Khalil Herbert on injured reserve Tuesday, two days after he hurt his hip while returning a fourth-quarter kickoff in a loss to the Lions.

Losing Herbert is a major blow to an offense that has mastered the ground attack. Led by quarterback Justin Fields’ record-setting rushing performances, the Bears average a league-best 201.7 rushing yards per game. No other team tops 169.

Herbert has averaged six yards per carry, which was tied with the Cowboys’ Tony Pollard for the most by any healthy running back in the NFL.

Herbert has run 108 times for 643 yards while sharing backfield duties with David Montgomery. Herbert was the home-run hitter, while Montgomery, who is in the final year of his contract, was more adept in short-yardage situations. Montgomery has run 115 times for 434 yards, an average of only 3.8 yards per carry.

Fields leads the team with 749 rushing yards.

The Bears could turn to Trestan Ebner to take Herbert’s place in the backfield. The rookie from Baylor has run 18 times for 46 yards and, like Herbert, has returned kicks for the Bears. He played 14 snaps against the Giants with Montgomery hurt — and only 36 the rest of the season.

Rookie wide receiver Velus Jones, a healthy scratch the last two weeks, also could return kicks.

Herbert was one of the breakout stars of the Bears’ offense, which has averaged 31 points the last four games. In only his second season, he joins Fields, tight end Cole Kmet and wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool as skill-position building blocks on the 3-7 team.

Herbert hurt his hip with 2:17 left. He fell to the ground as he was hit by Lions safety C.J. Moore and struggled to stand back up.

Players on injured reserve must miss at least four weeks, meaning Herbert could return Dec. 18 against the Eagles, at the earliest. It’s unclear if he’ll be out longer.

Coach Matt Eberflus was mum Monday when asked about Herbert, saying that the team wouldn’t address anyone’s status until the league-mandated injury report on Wednesday.

The Bears continued to shuffle their roster, claiming Giants cornerback Justin Layne, a 2019 third-round pick by the Steelers, off waivers.

Layne played mostly on special teams this season — his 11 defensive downs all came in one game — but he will help the Bears’ depth after Kindle Vildor (ankle) missed the Lions game and Jaylon Johnson (oblique) was hobbled. The Bears also waived defensive end Kingsley Jonathan, who appeared in four games.

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