One of the rites of any summer when training camp begins is keeping an eye on players with lingering injuries or those who have recovered from them.
Teams often put restrictions on such players who came back from surgery or had injuries after offseason work began.
The Bears report for this training camp Tuesday, July 27 and begin practicing Wednesday. Several players who missed time due to injuries will be the object of concern.
When coach Matt Nagy was addressing the ACL tear Tarik Cohen is recovering during offseason work, he warned all about being patient with any players recovering from something.
"There's going to be up and down days with these guys as they go," Nagy said. "That's just a part of the recovery process and they're working through all of that."
Two players who are not working through something after season-ending injuries last year are guard James Daniels and cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Daniels had a torn pectoral muscle in Week 5 so he's had far more time to heal than is required.
Johnson was a special concern because he had a shoulder injury and has a history of shoulder problems. However, went through minicamp without an issue and wasn't on any watchlist.
"I'm 100 percent healthy," Johnson said during minicamp. "There was no structural damage. There wasn't anything major like that."
Nagy called some of the injury issues very minor in minicamp and suggested the team was "...super, super conservative, and there's no need to get guys out there," and risk making a small issue bigger.
So here are those players to watch who might have injury issues.
5. WR Anthony Miller
During OTAs he went out and Nagy said, "He just has a little minor nick here." No one is sure what kind of nick this is or how nicked he was. Is he ready to compete for slot receiver? He'll have plenty of challengers coming for his spot as the starter for offensive sets using multiple wide receivers.
4. DE Bilal Nichols
At the end of minicamp, Nichols missed practice and Nagy called it a toe injury. Nothing more was said of it but shortly after minicamp ended the team signed former Chiefs defensive lineman Mike Pennel. When this occurred, there was thought they might be looking at the possibility Eddie Goldman would opt out again or retire, but Goldman is coming to camp, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Were they, instead, looking at Nichols with this signing? Sometimes toe or foot injuries get overlooked as insignificant but plenty of players have suffered season-ending toe or foot injuries over the years.
3. WR Dazz Newsome
On June 1 the rookie slot receiver broke his collarbone in practice at OTAs. It will be just over eight weeks since his injury when the Bears begin practices. This is roughly the amount of time team medical people will give a player to recover from a broken collarbone in the regular season. For instance, when Aaron Rodgers suffered his first broken collarbone on a hit by former Bears linebacker Shea McClellin, he missed seven weeks. Four years later, Rodgers came back from another broken collarbone after eight weeks. Those were regular-season occurrences to the most important player on that team. Will the Bears be more conservative with a rookie sixth-round draft pick who is just starting out his career, and keep him out a few more weeks?
2. OLB Robert Quinn
Quinn was at Halas Hall but not participating during minicamp after going through a first Bears season when he struggled with production amid rumors he had a condition known as "drop foot." Nagy's description of Quinn's injury this time had nothing to do with that situation.
"He does have a little lower back," Nagy said. "We're probably more conservative on that than anything."
So Nagy suggested it's not a serious problem, but when Quinn has had issues with his production and with vague injury situations in the past, there is no such thing as a minor problem.
1. RB Tarik Cohen
The week after Cohen suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament against Atlanta, the Bears running game went into the tank and didn't come out until well past the midpoint. Cohen was a vital part of the offense as a receiver and change-of-pace back, and also as what Nagy has called an "adjuster" within the offense.
Cohen obviously wasn't ready to join the team at offseason practices as he rehabbed, but he was on the field during stretching before going off to work on his own. One day he was walking a bit stiff-legged at practice.
Nagy acknowledged Cohen was experiencing "a little stiffness" and called it a normal part of the recovery.
If Cohen isn't ready yet to join practices, the Bears could always put him on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and let him rehab at his own pace while camp is conducted.