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It appears more likely than ever that the Bears will have tackle Teven Jenkins available Dec. 5  when they face the Arizona Cardinals.

The Bears announced backup tackle Elijah Wilkinson has been put on the reserve COVID-19 list. This leaves them down to only 2020 seventh-round pick Lachavious Simmons and guard Alex Bars as players currently on the 53-man roster who could fill in at tackle behind Jason Peters and rookie Larry Borom.

Wilkinson's stint on the COVID is his third one this season. He came off the list after six days the first time in August. The second one was Oct. 24 just before the Bears game with Tampa Bay.

When the Bears return to practice on Monday it will be two full weeks since they opened the three-week window they have to consider whether Jenkins should be brought off of injured reserve, so a decision whether to bring him back this year would need to be made at the end of the week anyway.

Jenkins was the 39th pick of the 2021 draft, and the Bears traded up to get him.

Jenkins has been out since the start of training camp. He had practiced at rookie camp and OTAs but the team announced Aug. 18 that he needed to go in for back surgery after experiencing pain during a brief period just before the start of training camp when only rookie players were practicing at Halas Hall.

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Bringing Jenkins back as a backup for the week is a logical step since he didn't participate in preseason games or camp.

The Bears feel they got to know him well during rookie camp.

"He's a competitor," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "You all saw that when we drafted him. You see the type of mean streak he has, you see how much he loves football, how much his teammates really appreciate him and he appreciates them."

There would be one other option as the backup tackle if Wilkinson hasn't come off the COVID list when the Bears play the Cardinals. They could activate Germain Ifedi, who has been on injured reserve with a knee injury since Oct. 13. However, there has been no indication Ifedi has recovered sufficiently to return.

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