Hub Arkush: Bears can survive without Shaheen, but Floyd’s injury tough to spin positively

August 21, 2018

Come on in off the ledge, Bears fans, the injury news on Leonard Floyd and Adam Shaheen could have been a lot worse.

At the same time, don’t be fooled, neither kid’s report is good, and it feels like the Bears may be soft-pedaling them more than is wise.

A report early on Monday that the damage to Shaheen was a low ankle sprain and may not be too serious was debunked somewhat by head coach Matt Nagy when he met the media a few hours later on Monday and said, “Adam had his right ankle and he’s currently, as we speak, being evaluated.

“That was an ankle sprain and we’re just getting him looked at to make sure that we’re good with that as well. We’re not sure there yet exactly, we’re hoping. He’s literally in the test as we speak.”

It is reasonable to hope that Shaheen’s injury isn’t serious, but even if it isn’t he obviously won’t be running on that ankle for a while, which will keep him from maintaining football shape and take at least a small chunk if not more out of what he’s accomplished so far in camp.

However, as long as Trey Burton is healthy and Dion Sims is available to bolster the running game, the Bears can cover for Shaheen, even if he misses the first two or three weeks.

The Floyd news is also less than disastrous, but as I wrote Saturday night he is — other than Mitch Trubisky — arguably the player the Bears could least afford to lose.

The Nagy spin is that, “Floyd has a fracture in his right hand. He had surgery yesterday. That surgery went well. We’re staying optimistic for Green Bay.”

Floyd’s fractures are actually to his index finger and the middle finger on that right hand. That is better news than if it were bones in the hand itself. Still, Nagy added, “I don’t think it’s going to be healed (for Green Bay).

“I think he’s going to have to end up playing through it. It might require something in regards to having a cast or a club-type deal and there’s been evidence of guys that have had that and been productive, and that’s what we’re hoping right now.”

Let’s be real now: The Bears were tied for seventh in the NFL last season with 42 sacks and sixth in sack percentage, and Floyd played just 10 games, contributing only 4 ½ sacks.

As long as Vic Fangio and Akiem Hicks are OK, the Bears should be, too, right? Perhaps, but their third-leading sackers from last season — Pernell McPhee and Lamar Houston, with four each — are gone, as is Willie Young, who chipped in a pair.

When Fangio chose to work personally with Floyd last year, the veteran defensive coordinator specified that the youngster’s hand use was where he needed to improve the most.

The Bears’ best pass rusher this preseason has been Roy Robertson-Harris, who explained Monday the biggest single factor in his improvement has been in the same area: “I’d say my hand placement. Being that I’m long, I’ve got long arms, I’ve got a tendency to bring my arms out. Little things like that.”

The longest player on the Bears, other than Robertson-Harris, is Floyd. Not being able to use his right hand as anything other than a club is a big deal.

Robertson-Harris, however, also expressed confidence that Floyd will be fine.

“He’s Leonard Floyd, you all now Flo. He’s good, he’s in a good mind state. He’ll be good; he’ll be ready for Week One.”

The problem there is, in fact, Floyd is one of the quietest, most introverted players on the team, and we really don’t know Flo.

What we do know about him is he’s as promising a pass rusher as you’ll find in the league, but he’s been injury prone since he got here, struggling trying to play nicked up to date, and he isn’t going to be close to 100 percent for a while with no guarantees when he’ll be able to go at all.

It’s pretty tough to put a positive spin on that.

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