Upbeat Kevin White eager to stay healthy, ‘take off’ in 2017

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Bears wide receiver Kevin White (13) had six receptions for 55 yards in a victory over the Lions at Soldier Field in Week 4. But he suffered a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain that put him on injured reserve. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

Kevin White isn’t going to let a couple of season-ending injuries get him down.

Despite playing in just four games in his first two seasons, White still is confident he can be the player the Bears thought they were getting when general manager Ryan Pace drafted the 6-3, 216-pound wide receiver seventh overall in 2015.

“No doubt at all — just got to get my body right,” White said Monday. “Once I do that I’ll do what I’m allowed to do. I’m actually excited. A lot of pressure, a lot of doubts that everybody has. But it’ll work out.”

White might be the ultimate x-factor for the Bears heading into 2017. Not only does he have to prove he can become an impact player, but that he can stay healthy long enough to prove it. After he missed his entire rookie season because of a stress fracture, he played only four games in 2016 before suffering a season-ending fractured fibula/high ankle sprain. He finished with 19 receptions for 187 yards (9.8 avg.) and no touchdowns, with a long gain of 32 yards against the Cowboys.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I didn’t think I would be out this year, obviously I did everything I could in the offseason. Stayed here, trained, worked my butt off, did everything I thought I could. It’s just unfortunate, but it’s the name of the game. I just have to fight back and stay patient and mentally stay tough.”

White underwent surgery in October. He still is not running, but said he feels good, is getting better and expects to be 100 percent healthy for the start of the offseason program.

“I would rather have this one happen rather than last year,” White said. “I’ll be back just fine. It won’t mess my game up at all. It’s just about time frame — walking, jogging and things like that. Once I’m able to start doing everything I’m allowed to do, that’s when I’ll try to hit it hard.”

White said he has not been frustrated to see other young receivers —like the Raiders’ Pro Bowler Amari Cooper and the Saints’ Michael Thomas and the Giants’ Sterling Shepard — establish themselves as he has sat out.

“I’m happy for them. I wish everybody success,” White said. “Mine is just having a hard time starting up. But once I get started, I’ll take off with it. Everything takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So it’ll happen.”

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