Larry Borom has been through the whole injury thing and as a fellow rookie offensive tackle, he can relate to Teven Jenkins' experience.
Bears coach Matt Nagy announced Friday Jenkins, the team's second-round draft pick in 2021, is being activated from injured reserve after August back surgery. It's likely to be a gradual return for the former Oklahoma State standout, since there are no vacant starting spots open.
As such, there's no guarantee he'll even make it off the inactive list on game day.
"Man, I'm glad to see him out there just doing it," Borom said. "He done been through a lot. He's somebody I can call a brother for sure. To see him out here doing what he loves, it means the world to everybody."
Borom's time away with injury came after Week 1, when he got the chance to fill in for Jason Peters due to injury and then was hurt himself after 15 plays. He returned from an ankle injury in Week 8 and has been the right tackle starter. But his time away was less severe than what Jenkins has had to endure.
At least Borom got to practice in training camp and then play later. Jenkins is still looking to be on a field for the first time.
"I can only imagine it's been tough," Borom said. "To not be able to do something that you really want to do and that you came here to do is tough on anyone."
The injury bothered Jenkins during the days prior to when training camp began, as rookies were the only players at Halas Hall working. They rested him until mid-August, then decided the back injury hadn't improved. So Jenkins was sent off for surgery and has been working his way back toward the roster spot over the last three weeks.
"Dealing with injury and not having those opportunities to be out there is obviously tough for a rookie, but we've been able to see some really good things from him and (are) just getting him comfortable with everything we're doing out there," quarterback Andy Dalton said.
Nagy noted the depth situation when discussing the possible use of Jenkins, but admitted he'd love to see what the rookie can do.
"Well, of course because I think when you draft a guy you're always anticipating how he's going to play," Nagy said. "So the common answer would be yes but at the same point in time he provides a lot of depth to us and we have a position there at left tackle where Jason Peters is playing pretty well. And that's a good thing, so you know you always need as many O-linemen as you can have.
"We've been on the other side where we've been, you know, the injury bug has hit us. So it's been difficult to get through that but right now we like depth, and I think for Teven to be able to come on in and get going we just kind of play it out. But it's a good problem to have."
Jenkins' being active could hinge on whether tackle Elijah Wilkinson is ready to come off the reserve/COVID-19 list. Wilkinson is on it for the third time this year and has been on it a week. If he can't come off of it then the Bears might be trying to choose between Jenkins or 2020 seventh-round pick Lachavious Simmons as a swing tackle for the Arizona game.
They also have Germain Ifedi, who has been on injured reserve with a knee injury since Oct. 13. Although Ifedi was originally their starting right tackle before Borom, there has been no mention of his possible return.