Bears top LB Tremaine Edmunds remains out with injury

The Bears’ defense is missing several key players who are hurt, and, offensively, wide receiver Chase Claypool remained out. Matt Eberflus was uncertain who would be traveling to Indiana this week for joint practices with the Colts.

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Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds warms up at a practice session earlier this month.

Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds warms up at a practice session earlier this month.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

At some point, having their biggest offseason acquisition sidelined by injury has to become a concern for the Bears.

And while coach Matt Eberflus has stressed the importance of getting all his players on the field, especially on the injury-besieged defense, he isn’t worried yet about linebacker Tremaine Edmunds missing time. He was still out of practice Monday, bringing his absence to 10 days.

Edmunds, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract to leave the Bills for the Bears in the offseason, is a vital part of the defense — essentially an extension of the coaching staff. His absence not only costs him practice time, but it also keeps his teammates from getting used to taking direction from him.

“He’s doing everything he can do,” said Eberflus, who hasn’t said anything about the injury other than it won’t keep him out of the season opener. “He’s engaged in [meetings and practices] . . . and we’re excited about where he is in terms of his mental side and command of the defense.”

Edmunds has had at least 100 tackles in each of his five seasons and has five interceptions, 6 ½ sacks and two forced fumbles.

The defense also was still missing safety Jaquan Brisker, upstart rookie cornerback Terell Smith and defensive end DeMarcus Walker.

Wide receiver Chase Claypool remained out with the hamstring injury he suffered Wednesday.

Eberflus was unsure which players would be available for joint practices with the Colts this week or whether some of them would even travel but maintained that the injuries aren’t expected to last into the season, which begins Sept. 10.

“We feel good with where everybody is,” he said. “The guys doing the therapy and their rehab and all that, that’s all on track.

“As coaches, do we always want them back faster? Yeah, [but] that’s what we do. We’ve gotta make sure that they’re on track in terms of speeds in the pool, speeds on land, and their starts and stops are right, and then we start working them into practice.”

On the positive side of the injury ledger, right guard Nate Davis returned Monday from an injury that had kept him out since Aug. 1.

Joint decisions

Eberflus said he will confer with Colts coach Shane Steichen on Tuesday night to plan their two joint practices and make sure both teams get the work they need. Coaches often coordinate their approaches to how long starters will play in a preseason game and in this scenario, as well.

Eberflus was noncommittal about whether quarterback Justin Fields will play Saturday or rely on the practices as game-like work, but he seemed to be leaning toward playing him.

“We’ll talk about that more in the next day or two, but I’d certainly like to see him get some more action,” Eberflus said.

The teams will practice Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana, with both nights open to the public for free by registering through the Colts’ website.

Roster moves

The Bears claimed linebacker Mykal Walker, a 2020 fourth-round pick, off waivers from the Falcons and waived linebacker Kuony Deng.

Walker, 25, played in 49 games for the Falcons in three seasons after they selected him No. 119 overall out of Fresno State. He played in 16 games last season, including 12 starts, and was on the field for 69% of Atlanta’s defensive plays. He had 107 tackles, two interceptions and a sack.

More roster shuffling could be imminent. The Bears held tryouts for five linebackers, including Illinois’ Isaac Darkangelo, and four defensive backs.

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