Matt Nagy ‘cautiously optimistic’ injuries to Eddie Jackson, Aaron Lynch not season-ending
Matt Nagy said Wednesday that Pro Bowl S Eddie Jackson has a sprained right ankle and top reserve OLB Aaron Lynch suffered a sprained left elbow in Sunday’s division-clinching win vs. the Green Bay Packers and neither will practice Wednesday.
However, Nagy said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that neither Jackson nor Lynch will miss the remainder of the season because of their injuries.
Jackson, who was named to his first Pro Bowl Tuesday night, injured his ankle Sunday during his fourth-quarter interception return that snapped Aaron Rodgers’ NFL record 402 consecutive attempts without a pick and for all intents and purposes sealed Chicago’s 10th victory and first division title since 2010.
Lynch, an underrated contributor behind stalwarts Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd, was injured earlier in the second half when he landed awkwardly on his elbow after a tackle attempt. Isaiah Irving replaced Lynch in the Bears’ OLB rotation, and Deon Bush filled in late for Jackson, the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Month, whose six interceptions and 15 passes defensed rank second on the Bears and third in the league.
With the Bears punching their postseason ticket Sunday and likely locked in as the No. 3 seed, they would have the luxury of resting Jackson and Lynch as much as possible over the next two-and-a-half weeks, assuming they can get back in time for the playoffs, which begin Sat. Jan. 5 with two wild-card round matchups.
Speaking of potential postseason reinforcements, Nagy also said that RG Kyle Long, who was placed on I.R. Nov. 3 with an ankle injury, won’t practice Wednesday but could return later in the week. He remains eligible to become the Bears’ second of two possible returnees from the injured reserve list as soon as Week 17.
In Long’s absence, Bryan Witzmann has played well opposite rookie LG James Daniels. But welcoming back the Bears’ second-longest tenured player, Long, for his first taste of NFL playoff action would be one of the better feel-good stories in their breakthrough season.