The injury news got worse for the Bears on Tuesday when they announced that inside linebacker and team captain Jerrell Freeman would join wide receiver Kevin White on injured reserve.
Freeman self-reported a concussion at the end of Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and he also suffered a more significant chest injury, which landed him on IR list.
Players placed on injured reserve are eligible to return after eight weeks, but a team is allowed to bring back only two players from injured reserve.
Second-year man Nick Kwiatkoski is expected to start for Freeman. The fourth-round pick out of West Virginia started seven games last season and played in 14. He finished seventh on the team with 52 tackles.
"He's a good athlete," coach John Fox said. "He understands our defense a lot better. He had some good games in the preseason."
Versatile Christian Jones could also see more playing time inside. He's a core special teams player who has started 20 games in three seasons since he was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
Fortunately for the Bears, their other starting inside linebacker, Danny Trevathan, has recovered ahead of schedule from last season's ruptured patellar tendon, and he started Sunday but was limited to certain situations.
The Bears promoted undrafted rookie wide receiver Tanner Gentry and three-year veteran linebacker Jonathan Anderson from the practice squad to fill the spots vacated by White and Freeman.
The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Gentry, a record-setting pass-catcher at Wyoming, caught 4 passes for 77 yards in the preseason, including a 45-yard TD from backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Anderson played in 11 games and started three when he was an injury fill-in as an undrafted rookie 2015, and he finished with 40 tackles. He split his time last year between the 53-man roster and the practice squad.
"Jonathan is a young player that we like," Fox said. "He got some action a year ago."
The Bears added running back Joshua Rounds and wide receiver Mario Alford to the practice squad, and released wide receiver Rueben Randle has been released from I.R.
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