Week 16 is set to bring about both positive and negative developments for the Bears’ offense from a health perspective. Running back Khalil Herbert is expected to make his return from injured reserve, per head coach Matt Eberflus.
Herbert has been sidelined for the past four games due to a hip injury. The timing of his IR placement made him eligible to to be activated in Week 15 at the earliest, which did not take place. The team made it clear that his injury was not expected to be season-ending, however, so a return in time for their Christmas Eve contest against the Bills would not come as a surprise.
The 2021 sixth-rounder flashed potential as a rookie when he totaled 529 scrimmage yards while playing a complimentary role to starter David Montgomery. He has taken a considerable step forward in 2022, posting 643 rushing yards at an average of 6.0 per carry, scoring four touchdowns on the ground. He has added 62 yards and another score in the passing game, making him an important member of Chicago’s league-leading rushing attack.
Especially with Montgomery approaching free agency, Herbert could soon be in line for an even larger workload in the near future. A return to the field would allow him to resume his impressive campaign, while providing the team with another rushing option to take some of the workload off of quarterback Justin Fields, something which should be a welcomed sight (though he has stated an intention of trying to break Lamar Jackson‘s single-season rushing record after becoming just the third QB to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on Sunday).
In other injury news, right guard Teven Jenkins is in danger of missing the remainder of the season. The 24-year-old was carted off the field with a neck injury during the team’s loss to the Eagles. While Eberflus described the situation as “encouraging” after he was released from hospital yesterday, he added that it remains to be seen if Jenkins will be available for the final three games of the year.
“We’ll see,” Eberflus said, via the Associated Press, when asked about the former second-rounder. “We’ll see. I don’t know yet. I don’t know. All those injury reports will come out… or we’ll know more as time goes. But that’s where it is right now.”
After an underwhelming rookie season which led to trade talks and a shift from tackle to guard, the Oklahoma State product has enjoyed a more successful campaign in 2022. Jenkins has registered a PFF grade of 80.0, which ranks fourth amongst all qualifying guards. His loss would thus be a notable one if he is indeed unable to play again this year.