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Byron Pringle to the IR

The calf injury suffered Sunday by wide receiver Byron Pringle was serious enough to land him on injured reserve, leaving the Bears shorthanded at pass catcher.

For their $4 million investment in Byron Pringle this year, the Bears have had two receptions, and now he is on injured reserve.

Pringle has a calf injury suffered against the Houston Texans early in Sunday's game on the same play that led to David Montgomery's ankle injury, and now they'll be shorthanded at receiver.

Pringle was out much of preseason and training camp with a quad injury, but returned for the start of the regular season. He made a 22-yard catch against San Francisco in the opener and before his injury had an 11-yarder against the Texans.

The Bears now have wide receivers N'Keal Harry, David Moore, Tajae Sharpe and Pringle on injured reserve. All are receivers they either signed as free agents or in the case of Harry, acquired in a trade.

Rather than elevate a receiver from the practice squad, the Bears have chosen to bring linebacker Joe Thomas up to the 53-man roster. 

Thomas was elevated on a temporary, weekly basis last week after starting strong side linebacker Matthew Adams suffered a hamstring injury. Thomas got on the field for 26 defensive plays and 22 special teams plays, and tied for fifth on the team in tackles with five in the 23-20 win.

The fact the Bears haven't added a receiver yet could be an indication they might finally see Velus Jones Jr. make his NFL debut after three regular-season games. He also missed the last preseason game with the hamstring injury which has been bothering him. 

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Jones tried to return to practice two weeks ago on a limited basis but had to stop, but last week he finished the week of practice with two limited workouts. So how he responds to practices this week will be the key.

Jones was their third-round draft pick this year out of Tennessee and also has been expected to be a threat in the return game with his 4.31-second speed in the 40-yard dash. Of course, he was healthy when he ran that time.

The Bears still can bring back Harry from injured reserve when he has healed enough from the ankle surgery he underwent during training camp. However, for now they are limited to hoping Jones returns. Or they can go with four wide receivers at New York, or simplyt elevate a practice squad player.

Darnell Mooney, Dante Pettis, Equanimeous St. Brown and recent addition Ihmir Smith-Marsette are the healthy active receivers on the roster.

If Jones can't go this week, Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Webster are the two wide receivers available on the practice squad.

Of course, the cynical might point out what does it matter who they have at receiver if they aren't going to throw to them anyway?

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