Another injury will sideline Lucas Patrick during his first Bears season. After undergoing surgery to repair a hand injury, Patrick sustained a toe malady that required him to be carted off the field Monday night.
The Bears plan to place Patrick on IR on Wednesday, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets. While this will be Patrick’s second extended injury hiatus, it will be his first time on IR this season. His previous absence covered most of training camp. Patrick, a two-year Packers starter, returned to action in Week 1.
Signed to a two-year, $8MM deal, Patrick followed new Bears OC Luke Getsy from Green Bay. Brought in to play center, Patrick has lined up at both center and guard this season. The hand injury affected his status at center, leading to guard work upon returning. But the Bears had Patrick at center against the Patriots. Chicago is already playing without longtime left guard Cody Whitehair, who remains on IR. Whitehair, who suffered a knee injury in Week 4, is eligible return to practice next week.
This injury, which will cost Patrick at least four games, will lead Sam Mustipher back into Chicago’s lineup at the position. After Pro Football Focus graded Mustipher as one of the NFL’s worst centers in 2021, the advanced metrics site has him slotted 14th at the position near this season’s halfway point. Mustipher, whom the Bears benched ahead of Week 7, re-emerged to play a key role in the team rushing for 243 yards in their upset win over the Patriots on Monday. Sans Whitehair, the Bears are likely to stick with the Mustipher-Michael Schofield–Teven Jenkins interior setup that finished out Week 7.
Additionally, Chicago will start Byron Pringle‘s IR-return window, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Pringle is returning to practice Wednesday. This represents good news for the Bears, with today being the first day Pringle was eligible to practice. The free agency pickup suffered a calf injury earlier this season. The Bears have used only one of their eight allotted injury activations this season.
A former Patrick Mahomes auxiliary target, Pringle signed a one-year, $4.13MM deal with the Bears this offseason. Chicago brought in a host of cogs to work alongside Darnell Mooney this year. Three of those — Pringle, N’Keal Harry and Velus Jones — have missed a chunk of time due to injury. The Bears used their first IR activation on Harry earlier this month. Pringle caught 42 passes for a career-high 568 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. In a low-volume Bears passing attack, the former UDFA was sitting on two catches (for 33 yards) when he went down earlier this season.