Bears Notebook: Smith Still Taking It Slow

August 27, 2018 - 5:29 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith wanted to be back out with the Bears practicing last week and getting his first preseason experience Saturday at Soldier Field, but that wasn't in the cards.

Smith experienced hamstring tightness during practice last Tuesday afternoon and was immediately removed from work with the Bears. He began a careful conditioning process that lasted the rest of the week and is now lingering into this week. Coach Matt Nagy confirmed that Smith was limited in practice Monday the same way he was last week as the team continues to monitor his hamstring.

Veteran linebacker Danny Trevathan has been by Smith's side from the start in April and is offering his own experiences from injury in relating to the rookie.

"We just got to take care of these injuries when they come along," Trevathan said. "They can happen to anybody. But we got to be smart about it and just get him to the game on Sunday.

"It's all about level-headedness. I've been in that situation a lot so I just know how to advise him and just tell him when you get your opportunities make sure you're 100 percent and you're on top of your thing so there's no letdown."

Smith missed the first 30 days of the Bears' preseason -- including the entirety of training camp in Bourbonnais -- as part of a rookie contract impasse. He trained down in Athens, Georgia with the strength and conditioning staff for the Georgia football program. When Smith arrived to the Bears, he felt confident in his football readiness. 

The hamstring ailment was a major setback in getting him prepared to possibly start the regular-season opener against the Packers, which is now 13 days away. Though Smith established a foundation with the Bears during the offseason program -- in which he fully participated -- he has hardly seen enough practice time to be considered competition for incumbent inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.

The Bears are making sure Smith doesn't push himself too far in returning to the practice field. His health and conditioning level remain the greatest priority to the Bears.

"People are going to say, 'Oh, you should be out there right now,'" Trevathan said. "It's all about being smart and when you're out there make it count. People will love you then.

Extra points

-- Linebacker Leonard Floyd could begin working with a protective club on his fractured right hand, and the Bears remain confident in his status for Week 1. Nagy understands wearing a club means that Floyd will be limited as a pass rusher without full use of his hand for grasp, but he still sees Floyd as a capable performer.

"He'll have that club on him, but he'll be able to play," Nagy said. "We've gone back and looked and seen there have been some good players that have played with clubs. It prevents you a little bit from grabbing, but we feel confident he'll be able to play."

-- The player who was supposed to line up opposite Floyd in that season opener is veteran Aaron Lynch, who's still working his way back from a hamstring injury that has lingered for more than a month. Lynch participated during parts of practice Monday but still has plenty of work ahead to earn a steady role within the defense. 

Is Lynch a candidate to be cut by the Bears this weekend?

"He's a guy at a position right now where depth-wise, we have some young guys who are playing well right now that we feel very comfortable in," Nagy said. "But with some of the experience that he has and the experience being in (Vic Fangio's) defense, you know what he can do. As a staff, you give this kid an opportunity because he's done this before.

"You got to be available, right? You got to be able to play. I think the quote is your best ability is your availability. If you have that, then great. He's getting to that point right now. We feel good with where he's at."

-- The Bears continue to work through second opinions on the foot/ankle injury of second-year tight end Adam Shaheen. Nagy believes that Shaheen will avoid the injured reserve list, though the team remains uncertain about his status more than a week after the injury first occurred in Denver.

-- Reserve offensive lineman Bradley Sowell suffered an ankle sprain in Saturday's preseason game, Nagy confirmed. He won't against the Bills on Thursday, but the Bears perhaps caught a break with his status.

-- Once again, fans coming out to Soldier Field on Thursday night shouldn't expect to see starters. The Bears will again prioritize rest over reps with its key players, Nagy said.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.