Roquan Smith Pectoral Injury, Other Bears Wounds Test Depth

Gene Chamberlain

With a long weekend ahead before getting ready to play the Green Bay Packers next week, the Bears opted to push off any verdicts on their injury front.

This included the pectoral injury suffered by inside linebacker Roquan Smith, which led to his departure on the first series.

Rather, coach Matt Nagy called attention to the efforts of his coaching staff to make certain backup players were up to the challenge.

"Roquan, again, just like I said yesterday, we're still getting more information," Nagy said Friday. "It doesn't look good. But we have some time here to get more information on him. We're going to do that.

"And then the rest of the guys that we have that have previously been injured before the game are all going to be week-to-week. We basically now have nine days to evaluate and see where they're at. So we'll do that as we go."

NFL Network called Smith's injury a torn pectoral muscle, which would be a season-ender. The Bears would not verify this.

The wounded list included wide receiver Javon Wims, who suffered a knee injury and required assistance getting off of the field. A few other Bears were banged up in the game, like running back David Montgomery and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, but seemed no worse for the wear.

The other injury problems are carryovers. The hamstring injury suffered by Prince Amukamara against Detroit kept him out of the 31-24 win Thursday over Dallas, while the concussions to tight end Ben Braunecker and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel suffered Nov. 24 against the Giants are still concerns, as well as tackle Bobby Massie's ankle injury.

The Bears completed four games in 19 days with their win over Dallas and injuries are anticipated but still difficult. It would appear they'll go to Green Bay Dec. 15 with two backup linebackers on the inside in Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin-Pierre Louis because of Smith's injury and the elbow injury keeping Danny Trevathan sidelined.

"It is what it is, it's unfortunate with some of the injuries that we've had this year but it's a part of the game," Nagy said. "It's a physical game. I just like the fact that our coaches are preparing our depth guys to come in. It's no slight on the other guys—the depth of guys that are coming in and playing, we like that."

Amukamara was replaced by cornerback Kevin Toliver against Dallas. In just his second NFL start, Toliver helped hold Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper in check until the fourth quarter, and then gave up some yardage and a touchdown in prevent coverage.

"It was a big competition," Toliver said. "I knew it was going to be a good matchup all week. I had to just play my technique, that’s all."

Facing Cooper, Tolvier just relied on something defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano always tells subs

"Like coach Pagano says, it's nameless faces and nameless names," Toliver said. "I just went out there and played like they were nobody. I just tried to play my technique and make a big play."

Former practice squad tight end Jesper Horsted and early season waiver wire pickup J.P Holtz made huge contributions catching passes, and wide receiver Riley Ridley even caught his first NFL pass. Wims' injury might mean Ridley plays more offense against Green Bay. At tight end, Horsted and Holtz will be counted on again if Braunecker can't play.

 "Guys are stepping up," wide receiver Anthony Miller said. "We've got some guys hurt, but we don't miss a beat. Everybody knows what's at stake. Everybody knows that we have to win.

"It's like every game we're playing with our backs against the wall. So, every game is a 'must win,' and we’ve got to get (Green Bay) in Lambeau next week."