His right ankle still hurting since injuring it against the Dolphins, outside linebacker Khalil Mack didn’t practice Wednesday.
Coach Matt Nagy characterized Mack as day-to-day. He played 62 of the Bears’ 78 snaps Sunday — most of them after having his ankle taped in the first half.
Mack has never missed a game because of injury, and his teammates doubted he’d sit out Sunday against the Patriots at Soldier Field.
Nagy said the Bears will continue to be “more cautious than anything” with Mack, as they have been with other players this season. There’s more money invested in Mack — $90 million guaranteed — than in any defensive player in NFL history.
“He’s doing good, he’s in good spirits and we’re just going about business,” Nagy said. “You could see it when he tweaked it. He continued to play. So we’ve just got to keep an eye on it so that he’s mentally ready, as well as physically.”
Nagy was not sure whether Mack could miss a week’s worth of practice and still play against the Pats. The team has little incentive to rush him back simply to practice on a Wednesday, of course.
Mack said after the game against Miami — his first without a sack as a Bear — that he was good. On Wednesday, his teammates didn’t appear particularly panicked.
Backup outside linebacker Aaron Lynch was asked how the injury would affect the number of snaps he expects to get against New England.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll get the same amount of playing time. I’m pretty sure he’s still going to play.”
He called Mack a fighter.
“I think he showed that even when he wasn’t hurt,” Lynch said. “Him being hurt — and certainly he’s a fighter — we know that we can count on him.”
Leonard Floyd, who starts opposite Mack at outside linebacker, said the Bears have a next-man-up mentality.
“We gotta keep working hard as a group until he returns,” Floyd said.
New England coach Bill Belichick drew attention when he told Patriots reporters early Wednesday that no player, Mack included, was as good as former Giants great Lawrence Taylor.
He reiterated that point in an afternoon phone call with the Chicago media.
“[Mack is] a great player,” he said. “I mean, look, he’s already had a huge impact on the Bears’ defense in the first five games. So I’m not taking anything away from him. You’re talking about Lawrence Taylor, you’re talking about probably the greatest defensive player in the history of the game.
“So I think it’s a little early. I wouldn’t put anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s category. Not that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen a lot of great players.”