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Emma: Bears Taking Precautions With Injuries, But It Comes With A Cost

By Chris Emma--

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) -- By this point of the preseason, every team is dealing with injuries.

It's a part of football, and teams can only hope to avoid the major injuries during this time of preparation. Thus far, the Bears have only suffered one significant injury, a torn ACL to center Hroniss Grasu that cost his season.

Yet, the Bears' injury report listed upward of 20 names Sunday. Fresh off an off day, the list on Tuesday had shrunk a bit but still included running back Jeremy Langford, guard Kyle Long, linebacker Danny Trevathan, tight end Tony Moeaki, linebacker Pernell McPhee and more.

"It's pretty much the same as the other 31 (teams)," Bears coach John Fox said Tuesday. "I know it's the same for me the last 15 years."

Fox has placed the team into a regular season-like schedule this week. With the game against the Chiefs on Saturday at noon, everything was pushed up a day, making Tuesday the usual Wednesday and Monday being the usual Tuesday off day.

Practices include game simulation, working against the scout team to learn the next opponent. Everything is structured with great detail to work as if Aug. 23 was Sept. 23. That's what Fox desires.

However, as the Bears continue to prepare as if it's the regular season, they're doing so without key players at each position. Consider that a disruption to attempted normalcy.

The Bears have held out many players as a precaution. They're more concerned with being healthy for Week 1 in Houston than Week 3 of the preseason against Kansas City. It's likely that Langford, Long and Trevathan would all play if Tuesday marked the season opener at NRG Stadium. McPhee is progressing well in his side work and could return to practice soon.

Caution is wise during August, because there's still ample time until Sept. 11 and the games that count.

"There's a difference between injuries and owies," Fox said. "We've had a couple injuries. Now, it's about getting everybody healthy for Houston."

Naturally, it's fair to wonder how the Bears are disrupted without having a healthy complement of key starters. Jacquizz Rodgers is a veteran who fits well as the replacement running back, but without Long, the Bears are forced to completely adjust their starting offensive line.

Defensively, the Bears are rotating at inside linebacker to fill Trevathan's void. With McPhee out and rookie Leonard Floyd missing time before Tuesday, the rotation at outside linebacker ran to the bottom of the depth chart. That's good news for Roy Robertson-Harris, who needs the opportunities to prove himself, but the Bears are sorely missing McPhee.

The Bears' secondary is in flux, with cornerback Kyle Fuller sidelined indefinitely after a knee scope last week. Jacoby Glenn practiced in a limited role while returning from a concussion, and Bryce Callahan is still out with a hamstring injury. Undrafted rookie Kevin Peterson is among Bears getting time at cornerback. Still, depth in the secondary is a primary concern.

Resting players dealing with "owies," as Fox says, is understandable, but it comes at a cost. The Bears are lacking cohesion in an important time of development.

"The more you can expose guys to scheduling," Fox said, "what you're expecting in the preparation, I think the better."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago's sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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