LAKE FOREST – Bears starting right guard Teven Jenkins returned to full participation in practice Wednesday at Halas Hall and said afterward that he fully expects to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Only 10 days ago, Jenkins was carted off the grass at Soldier Field and transported to a local hospital after suffering a scary neck injury in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The injury happened on the game’s first possession, moments after kickoff, and left the home fans in stunned silence. Jenkins’ teammates left the bench and showed their support for their injured teammate, standing near where he lay on the field.
Jenkins said his neck injury “could’ve been a lot worse.” The second-year lineman took a hard hit as he was blocking. His opponent’s helmet hit him “in the sweet spot,” in Jenkins words, and sent his neck flying at an awkward angle.
“As soon as that happened, a big shot of pain,” Jenkins said.
He said it wasn’t until three or four o’clock that day, hours after a noon kickoff, that he knew he was going to be OK. Doctors had him test out the mobility in his neck, and all indications were positive.
It very well could’ve been a major injury. Medical staffs across the NFL always are extremely cautious with neck injuries because they can be so dangerous.
Jenkins said the Bears’ medical staff told him to remain on the ground after the injury initially happened.
“I never imagined myself to be injured like that, especially getting carted off,” Jenkins said. “Anytime I can, I’m going to try to get off the field if I’m hurt or injured. That was one of those instances where they told me to stay down because it’s a neck injury. You have to keep it stable.”
Jenkins returned to practice briefly last week but sat out most of the week. He missed Saturday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Left guard Cody Whitehair also missed the game because of a knee injury, so the Bears were without both of their starting guards.
The team certainly could use Jenkins, who has emerged as one of its best linemen this season. Jenkins noted that he was grateful to his teammates for their show of support in the aftermath of the injury.
Injury report: In addition to Jenkins returning, Whitehair (knee) returned to limited participation Wednesday.
Defensive lineman Andrew Brown (ankle), defensive tackle Justin Jones (eye), receiver Dante Pettis (ankle), linebacker Sterling Weatherford (illness) and tight end Trevon Wesco (calf) were also limited participants.
Receiver Chase Claypool (knee) and receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (concussion) did not participate in practice.
Transactions: The Bears claimed former Denver Broncos cornerback Michael Ojemudia off waivers, one day after the Broncos released him. Ojemudia was a third-round draft pick of the Broncos in 2020. He has appeared in three games this season for Denver, mostly on special teams.
In order to make room on the roster, the Bears waived defensive end Taco Charlton.
The Bears also signed cornerback Greg Stroman Jr. to the practice squad. Stroman was previously with the Bears during training camp.