MONDAY, 1:00pm: Coach John Fox confirmed that Grasu has torn his ACL and is done for the season (Twitter link via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com).
SUNDAY, 9:44am: The Bears have lost an important member of their offensive line, as second-year center Hroniss Grasu suffered a torn ACL during practice yesterday, sources tell Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Though Chicago has yet to offer any confirmation, Grasu is likely to miss the entire 2016 campaign.
Grasu’s injury will force the Bears to reconfigure an offensive line that they’d spent all offseason upgrading, and the club doesn’t have a clear option on its roster capable of stepping in at the pivot. Veteran Ted Larsen, who signed during the free agent period, has played 10 games at center during his career, while rookie Cody Whitehair has also been working in the middle during practice sessions.
Chicago released offensive lineman Matt Slauson earlier this year though he was only due $3.4MM, and notably did not even offer him a chance to stay on the roster and accept a paycut. Hindsight is 20/20, but Slauson would have been an excellent interior lineman to have in reserve, as he graded out as the league’s fifth-best center (per Pro Football Focus) after moving to the middle to replace Grasu following an injury last season.
If they’re unsatisfied with their internal replacements, the Bears could look to the free agent market to find a center, and one intriguing option might be Will Montgomery, who started eight games for the Broncos in 2014 under current Chicago head coach John Fox. Other alternatives include Brian De La Puente (who was a Bear in 2014), the recently-released Trevor Robinson, former Colt Khaled Holmes, and longtime Patriot Ryan Wendell.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.