No timeline for a return yet, but Kyle Long is happy to be on the field with the Bears again

Bears guard Kyle Long returns to practice after a stint on injured reserve on December 21st.

LAKE FOREST – He’s not stopped going to Halas Hall over the past few months, but it’s certainly been a little different now than it was the in September and October.

That’s when Kyle Long was healthy and active for the Bears, helping to anchor the middle of the offensive line as they started the season 4-3. But at the tail end of that last victory on October 28th, he suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve for a third-straight year.

So the last two months have been spent in rehabilitation, trying to get healthy for a return to the field. While it might have seemed a bit of a long shot, the work paid off, and Long did a very satisfying thing on Friday that would have seemed so simple at the beginning of the season.

“It was good to be in a helmet and running around,” said Long, who was taken off injured reserve on Friday. “I don’t feel like a ghost in the building.”

Expect that feeling to be a little less over the next week-and-a-half, perhaps even longer as the offensive guard continues to work his way back from the injury. It’s kept him out of the Bears’ last seven games, but Long started showing up at practice during the media sessions last week out of a walking boot.

The possibility of Long practicing again was mentioned during the Green Bay week, and it came to fruition with the workout on Friday. Now comes the question of when Long might be back on the field, yet there remains no timeline for a return at the moment.

For the guard, it’s all about getting back into game shape first.

“I’ve got to make it so I’m less out of breath the next day than the one I was before,” said Long when asked if he thought he could return for the playoffs. “The training staff has done a great job here of keeping me as prepared as possible.

“Obviously there is no timeline, but we’re just trying to work forward and progress every day.”

Matt Nagy has the same philosophy with his offensive lineman, unwilling to give a timeline for a return, whether that’s Week 17 against the Vikings, the playoffs, or not at all.

“When you’re out like that, it’s the conditioning side too, of how he feels with his football conditioning, per se,” said Nagy of Long.  “We’ll just keep communicating and talking to him and then we’ll see what we think is best as we go.

“But today was a great first step.”

One that was so simple yet so significant for one of the veteran Bears’ players at Halas Hall.



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