Chicago Sun-Times

Making it through the offseason a treacherous adventure

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FIrst-round pick Peria Jerry limped off the practice field in Atlanta on Saturday.

The day before, New Orleans linebacker Stanley Arnoux, a fourth-round pick from Wake Forest who Aaron Curry called the best player on their college team, ruptured an Achilles tendon in a minicamp practice.

Last weekend, New England linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, a third-round pick, blew out an ACL in minicamp.

Injuries happen in the offseason and no team knows better than the Bears. The good news coming out of Atlanta this morning is that Falcons coach Mike Smith called Jerry's injury a mild sprain. Remember though, that is what the Bears said second-round pick Dan Bazuin had in 2007 in a rookie minicamp. As it turned out, he had a knee injury that led to two surgeries and ultimately cost him his entire rookie season. Bazuin still wasn't the same player at the end of training camp last summer and wound up being cut. Arnoux and McKenzie will get to experience being rookies all over again next season. They're both done for the year.

Draft picks take part in rookie minicamps and portions of the offseason program without having contracts. They sign agreements with their teams that they will be given fair contracts in the event they are injured. That's not a big deal--it happens everywhere. The point worth making is that the offseason isn't without its share of bumps and bruises, some of them serious.

When the Bears opened up Halas Hall for OTA's last May it was discovered wide receiver Mark Bradley was on the shelf after arthroscopic knee surgery. He tweaked his knee running around in voluntary workouts. Missing nearly two months of work didn't help a player operating on the fringe of the roster. Defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek missed the bulk of the offseason program with a hand injury he suffered on the field. Fullback J.D. Runnels was lost for the season when he suffered a torn ACL in OTA's in 2007. He never saw the field for the Bears, who had all of those injuries happen in workouts in the last two years. Per the collective bargaining agreement, contact drills are outlawed in the offseason. That doesn't prevent players from running into one another. The Bears make only four of their 14 OTA dates open to media.

Coaches talk about making it through the regular season healthy. Teams need to be concerned about making it through the offseason healthy, or hope that injuries don't wipe out key players. The Bears offseason program continues at Halas Hall this week and OTA's will begin a week from Wednesday on May 20.

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4 Comments

Boy, this article makes me feel just peachy....waiting for the sky to fall. Excuse me while I go out and vomit.

They're just out of shape!!!! Stay in shape and these non-contact injuries would not happen!!!!

It will be interesting to see what the Bears plans for Dusty Dvoracek are? I assume with the drafting of Jarron Gilbert, who Jerry Angelo called "an under tackle," will allow 2nd year defensive tackle Marcus Harrison to move to the nose position on a full time basis now. Harrison has the prototypical size you like for the position at 6-3 310lbs. I think he would be a better fit at the nose position and could develop into a pretty good one for Chicago.

Back to Dvoracek, I had high hopes for Dusty, but the guy just can't seem to stay on the field. With the drafting of Gilbert maybe moving Harrison to the nose position for good along with the emergence of Anthony Adams last season at the nose position, will there even be a spot for Dusty? He's certainly gonna have to have a good camp this summer to stick, and stay healthy. I think one more injury will be the end of Dvoracek also.

If Dvoracek is cut loose, maybe there will be a spot for 3rd year nose tackle Matt Toeaina, who the club was impressed with enough to keep around after his short stint with the team late 2007. Toeaina has nice size at 6-2 311lbs, and seemed to have the ability to penetrate when he played. It will be interesting to see how he has developed for the Bears and what their plans are for him? I can see the Bears going with Tommie Harris and Jarron Gilbert at the under tackle position, and Anthony Adams and Marcus Harrison at the nose, and maybe Dvoracek and Toeaina will have to battle it out for the last spot, well see this summer GO BEARS!!

Tripper,

You must be tripping all right. Have you seen a professional athlete in person? Have you worked out with one? These guys are in better shape than anyone else on the planet.

They get injuries for the same reason a finely tuned thoroughbred horse gets injured. They are at the physical limits a human being can tolerate before the body can't handle it.

I would suggest you read more and post less. You obviously don't know what you are talking about.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 10, 2009 1:29 PM.

Bears still looking for camp leg, could call on Zac Atterberry was the previous entry in this blog.

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