Kevin White has a stress fracture in his leg, Bears GM Ryan Pace announced, and the first-round pick could miss his entire rookie season.
White will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. This means White will not play in Chicago’s first six games.
“Is there a chance he misses the season? That’s a possibility,” Pace said during a press conference. “Our whole focus right now is his long-term health. I know he’s going to be a great player.”
The No. 7 overall pick out of West Virginia will undergo shin surgery, during which a rod will be inserted, soon, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Finley notes the team will not rush White back, likely meaning his stay on the PUP list represents only part of the expected absence.
“If it was up to me, I would be out there. I want to be practicing tomorrow,” White told media during the press conference. “But it’s not my call. I’ve got to follow the rules.”
In bringing White along slowly, the Bears hoped his injury would heal on its own, but opted for this course of action when the elusive wideout felt pain earlier this week, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer (Twitter link).
Florio reports it’s unclear how the injury occurred, but for the Bears, it’s a significant setback, especially after trading Brandon Marshall this offseason. More will now fall on No. 1 target Alshon Jeffery‘s docket, with new slot target Eddie Royal set to play what could be his most prominent role since his rookie season, when he served as the Broncos’ No. 2 receiver behind Marshall and caught 91 passes.
White would be the second top-10 pick to miss his full rookie season, with Dante Fowler Jr. preparing to do so after having already suffered a torn ACL.