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Bears place Kevin White on IR, but won’t rule him out for 2017

LAKE FOREST, IL - JUNE 06: Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White (11) participates in drills during team OTA workouts on June 06, 2017 at Halas Hall, in Lake Forest, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST – Three seasons isn’t a lot of time to build traditions. Unfortunately for John Fox, he has one during his short time in Chicago.

That’s comforting Kevin White.

For a third-straight year, the Bears coach had to do that after the former first round draft pick was injured during the team’s opener against the Falcons on Sunday.

When he was tackled following a catch in the fourth quarter, White broke his scapula and because of it finds himself on Injured Reserve for a third-consecutive season.

“My heart goes out to him,” said Fox of White, who has played in just five games with the Bears since being taken seventh-overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. “He was very disappointed and discouraged in the locker room after the game for obvious reasons. Again, thoughts and prayers go out to him, he was pretty upset about it last night and their doing evaluations now.”

Because of that, however, there is a slight possibility that White may not be out for the rest of the 2017 season.

Per Fox, surgery may not be required for the injury and relaxed Injured Reserve rules could allow the Bears to get White back on the field before the end of the season.

That would be a major step for White, who missed the entire 2015 season with a left tibia injury and then 12 games in 2016 with a broken left fibula. Against the Falcons, White has just two catches for six yards and was targeted four times by Mike Glennon.

For a temporary replacement, the Bears could look to the practice squad and bring up receiver Tanner Gentry. The rookie from Wyoming showed promise at different times in the preseason and could be the one to take White’s place on the roster.

Fox also announced that Jerrell Freeman self-reported a concussion during Sunday’s loss to the Falcons along with a pectoral muscle injury. That continues to be evaluated as the Bears prepare for their second game of the season against the Bucs in Tampa on Sunday.