Vic Fangio: Bears 'Probably' Should've Rested Khalil Mack Sooner

November 01, 2018 - 2:20 pm
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Maintenance is the key for star outside linebacker Khalil Mack as he works back from a right ankle injury, but perhaps the Bears were a bit late in that effort.

Mack first had his ankle rolled up in Chicago's loss at Miami on Oct. 14, when he played out the rest of the game in pain. He played 84 percent of the team's defensive snaps against the Patriots a week later. Mack had zero sacks and two pressures in that span before the Bears held him out in a win against the Jets last Sunday.

Mack is likely to only practice on a limited basis this week before what should be a game-time decision on his status at Buffalo on Sunday.

"To his credit, he tried to play with it," Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Mack. "Some people would say we were wrong to play him after he got hurt early in Miami in that game and then wrong to play him the (Patriots) game. But there’s another lens to look at that. A lot of people think players don’t play through injuries.

"I prefer to look at it through the lens that this guy is trying to fight through and play, and he’s not letting an injury take him out. In hindsight, should we have taken him out earlier? Probably. But a guy says he can go, he can go, and we’ve got to see it."

Mack played at a high level through four healthy contests, recording 20 tackles, five sacks, four forced fumbles and a pick-six. Now in his fifth NFL season, he had never missed a game before this past Sunday. If the Bears hold him out in Buffalo, they would do so with an eye on positioning him for good health in their span of three division games in 12 days later in November.

The Bears are facing a Bills offense that has averaged a league-worst 10.9 points per game and is forced to start third-string quarterback Nathan Peterman due to injuries. Potentially playing without Mack on Sunday shouldn't limit the Bears defense to a great extent against a struggling group.

"I do know that they have a lot of confidence in (Peterman)," Fangio said. "We got to be able to defend their offense, and he’s a capable player."

Extra point: The Bears have yet to make a determination on whether guard Kyle Long will be placed on injured reserve, coach Matt Nagy said. The team will weigh a number of factors in making that decision. Long would be forced to sit out eight weeks, which would cause him to be out through at least Week 16. In that situation, the Bears could still potentially bring Long back for the regular-season finale and possible playoff game. The Bears have until Saturday to make that call.

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