Friday's NFL: Bears put Khalil Mack on season-ending IR with foot injury
Lake Forest, Ill. — The Chicago Bears' defense took a huge hit Friday when coach Matt Nagy announced outside linebacker Khalil Mack would go on season-ending injured reserve due to a foot injury.
Mack will have surgery next week, but Nagy did not specify the nature of the foot injury. Mack's season ends with six sacks.
Mack’s injury has been a problem since the Bears played Cleveland in Week 3, but he tried to play through it until going to the sidelines for the Oct. 31 game against San Francisco, and hasn't returned.
“I know with him, it’s been the last several weeks trying to get right,” Nagy said. “And I think we did everything as far as trying to attack it the right way with him.
“I know he’s put a lot of time and energy in trying to get back and see where things are at. This is where we’re at.”
Mack played through the injury against the Raiders, the Packers and then Oct. 24 against Tampa Bay.
The Bears elevated outside linebacker Cassius Marsh from the practice squad and announced they signed veteran outside linebacker Bruce Irvin to their practice squad as potential help in the pass rush. It’s possible Irvin could be flexed to the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game with Baltimore but that hasn’t yet been determined.
Second-year player Trevis Gipson is Mack's backup.
The injuries are piling on the Bears defense as they will not have defensive end Akiem Hicks for the Baltimore game due to an ankle injury, and they also moved inside linebacker Danny Trevathan on Friday to injured reserve as a result of a knee injury.
There is no doubt the Mack injury is the biggest, however.
“It’s stuff that he’s been dealing with and we’ve been for weeks, he’s trying to get through it,” Nagy said. “Through him and our doctors and everybody else, this is part of the game. You try to handle things the right way.
“I know he’s frustrated because he’s such a competitor, but this is the best thing for him and the best situation to be able to help him out and get him fixed.”
Chicago's defense has dropped from near the top early to 12th in the league. They had been sack leaders, but are now tied for eighth with 25.
Defensive lineman Eddie Goldman called it case of everyone else picking up the slack in the pass rush.
“Just get to the quarterback more,” Goldman said. “There’s no way you can fill his shoes, but just try to get to the quarterback as much as you can.”
The Bears also have another injury issue for Sunday’s game as wide receiver Allen Robinson has not practiced this week and is listed doubtful to face the Ravens due to a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 8 against Pittsburgh.
Robinson hasn’t missed a game since 2018.
Giants' Barkley on verge of returning from sprained ankle
When Saquon Barkley stepped on the foot of a Cowboys defensive back while running a pass pattern last month and sprained his ankle, the New York Giants star running back envisioned he would be out only a few weeks.
The MRI after the Oct. 10 game quickly dispelled that idea.
When he appeared ready to return weeks later against the Las Vegas Raiders on Nov. 7, a false positive COVID-19 test again put his return on hold. He missed three days of practice while in the virus protocol.
The Giants' bye week followed, so there went another week.
The long wait to play again seemingly will end Monday night when the Giants (3-6) face Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (6-3) in Tampa, Florida.
What's made the wait even tougher is that Barkley missed most of last season after tearing his ACL in a game in Chicago.
“As a competitor, you want to be out there,” Barkley said Friday. “I just went a whole year, missed 14 games because of a knee and having to watch all the games on TV or being there. Then having to miss three or four games, however many games I just missed, obviously it sucks.
"Just missed the game and just hopeful that I get that opportunity this week. Just got to keep trusting it and keep building.”
Barkley has moved well in the periods of practice open to the media this week. He acknowledged being a little sore.
“That’s part of football," Barkley said. "That’s part of the game that I love to play, and I just have to continue to listen to the trainers, listen to the coaches and trust my body.”
... Panthers coach Matt Rhule said Cam Newton will start Sunday at quarterback against the Washington Football Team.
Rhule said P.J. Walker, who started in Carolina’s 34-10 win against the Arizona Cardinals last week, could still see action as well since there are portions of the game plan that Newton is still learning.
... Saints running back Alvin Kamara will miss his second straight game Sunday in Philadelphia, and New Orleans also will be without starting tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk.
... Browns running back Nick Chubb was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday, clearing the way for him to play Sunday when the Browns host the winless Detroit Lions to begin a crucial three-game stretch.
Coach Kevin Stefanski also said quarterback Baker Mayfield will start after he sat out one day this week to rest shoulder, foot and knee injuries.