Bears notebook: Teven Jenkins hoping to return vs. Falcons
The right guard — arguably the Bears’ best offensive lineman this season — missed last week’s game against the Lions with a flare-up of a lingering hip injury. “It’s a little sore right now. But I think it’ll be good,” he said after having full participation in practice Friday.
Teven Jenkins was establishing a home at right guard when a hip injury he had been managing all season flared up after the Dolphins game Nov. 6.
It was all too typical of Jenkins’ star-crossed career that in the same week he was being hailed as one of the best guards in the NFL — the sixth-highest-graded guard in the league for the season and third-best for the previous month, according to Pro Football Focus — he had to miss the game against the Lions.
“Very frustrating,” Jenkins said. “I don’t like missing any time. I don’t like seeing my teammates and my brothers out there doing that without me. I love being there with them. It was hard on me.”
Jenkins, who did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, had full participation in practice Friday and hopes to play Sunday against the Falcons. He is listed as questionable.
“It’s still a little sore right now,’’ Jenkins said. ‘‘I’m getting back to it. But I think it’ll be good.’’
Jenkins’ road to success has been a winding one since he was drafted in the second round (39th overall) by former general manager Ryan Pace last year. He played in only two games as a rookie after undergoing back surgery in training camp and lost his starting job to fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones during the second week of OTAs in June.
Just when it looked like Jenkins was the odd man out, he was switched to right guard in training camp and was the Week 1 starter in a rotation with Lucas Patrick.
As the line shuffled because of injuries, Jenkins became the most consistent performer and solidified the right-guard position. He said he expects to have to manage the hip injury until the Bears’ bye week after the Dec. 4 game against the Packers.
“I’d say it’s a win for me because this is my first time being at that position,” Jenkins said. “I wouldn’t want to jinx it now, but I’m playing really good, and hopefully I can keep it up for the rest of the season.’’
Jenkins credited his coaches but also veteran guard Michael Schofield — who replaced him last week — and starting center Sam Mustipher for his improved play.
“Teven was improving [before the injury], and Teven’s best is still out there,” offensive line coach Chris Morgan said.
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry (illness) and safety Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) will not play against the Falcons. Defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad and cornerback Kindle Vildor had full participation in practice Friday and are questionable.
Tight end Cole Kmet was named the honorary captain for the game Sunday.
“Cole’s a special guy,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “He is energy. He is enthusiasm. He brings light into a room. When he comes into our offensive room — talking to the whole team — he really does a good job with that. He’s everything we stand for.”
A ‘shoe-in’ Hall of Famer
The cleats Justin Fields wore when he rushed for 178 yards against the Dolphins — the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular-season game — will be displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.