NOVEMBER 9: Chicago will be the first team this season to push up against the injury activation limit. The Bears are activating St. Brown and Blackwell from IR, though Herbert will not be returned to the 53-man roster just yet. Nevertheless, the team will use its sixth and seventh activations Wednesday, leaving one remaining. That is a bit unusual in Week 10, though we are fairly early into this injury format.
Herbert seemingly is the favorite for that final IR-return activation. Once that happens, any Bear who lands on IR will see his season end. Blackwell and St. Brown join Teven Jenkins, Braxton Jones, Doug Kramer, Khalid Kareem and Kyler Gordon as Chicago’s IR activations thus far.
NOVEMBER 6: The Bears’ backfield could be healthier in the near future. The team announced on Monday that running back Khalil Herbert has been designated for return from injured reserve.
The news means Herbert’s 21-day practice window has been opened. He must be activated within that span to avoid reverting to season-ending IR. The same is true for cornerback Josh Blackwell and wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who were also designated for return on Monday.
Herbert suffered a high ankle sprain in October, one which was expected to keep him sidelined for an extended period. As a result, his IR stint came as little surprise. His activation will end his absence while giving the Bears another option at the RB spot. The 25-year-old has logged a career-high 10.2 carries per game in 2023, confirming expectations he would see an uptick in usage with David Montgomery no longer in the picture. Herbert has parlayed that into 272 yards, while adding one touchdown and 83 yards in the passing game.
Chicago has dealt with a number of injuries in the backfield recently, but D’Onta Foreman has emerged as the team’s lead back. The free agent addition has logged at least 15 carries in three of the past four games, including a season-high 20 on Sunday. Foreman has averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns during the start of his tenure in the Windy City, and it will be interesting to see how his workload is affected once Herbert returns.
Blackwell has made 18 appearances with the Bears, and has played primarily on special teams. St. Brown, by contrast, has seen a notable workload on offense (57% snap share last season, 49% in 2023) since arriving in Chicago after three years in Green Bay. His return will be welcomed on a passing attack which has struggled to find consistent success with either Justin Fields or Tyson Bagent under center.
However, the Bears entered today with only three of their eight IR activations remaining. In other words, bringing back Herbert, Blackmon and St. Brown will leave the team without the ability to put any other player on IR which they believe will be able to return later in the campaign. Still, Chicago will have reinforcements on both sides of the ball once the trio is back on the field.