Bears place receiver Kevin White on IR list with fractured scapula
Kevin White, the Bears' snake-bitten wide receiver, will be placed on injured reserve with a fractured scapula that he suffered in the fourth quarter of Sunday's season opener.
White could return later in the season, but there's a chance he could miss the entire season. That would leave him with having played in just five games in three years since he was the seventh overall NFL draft pick in 2015.
Surgery could be needed after the injury to the back of his shoulder is evaluated further, and White could seek a second opinion before making that decision.
"I'm not 100 percent sure of that," Bears coach John Fox said of the possibility of surgery. "I'm not ruling it out, but I know he will go to IR."
The Bears can bring one player back from injured reserve during the season, a decision they can make at a later date.
"My heart goes out to him," Fox said. "He was very disappointed and discouraged in the locker room after the game for obvious reasons."
White missed his entire rookie season after having surgery for stress fractures in his left shin. He played the first four games last season, catching 19 passes for 187 yards, before suffering a combination fractured left fibula and high left ankle sprain.
White had 2 catches for 6 yards before he was injured late in the Bears' 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Despite his injury history and lack of experience, the 6-foot-3, 216-pound White was the Bears' de facto No. 1 wideout after Cam Meredith suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee during the third preseason game.
Even with Meredith and White, the Bears were considered thin at wide receiver. Now they're facing a dire situation with their passing attack.
Five-year veteran Markus Wheaton was not active on Sunday because he's recovering from a fractured pinkie. He had just 4 catches for 51 yards for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016, when he missed 13 games with a shoulder injury. In the two previous seasons, however, Wheaton caught a total of 97 passes for 1,393 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Inexperienced third-year wide receiver Tre McBride was signed on Sept. 3 after he was waived by Tennessee but was not active Sunday. He has 2 career receptions.
"He spent last week getting oriented in our offense," Fox said of McBride. "He's a possibility. Markus Wheaton is improving. He did actually practice last week, albeit with a fairly major club on his hand. Then we'll have some (other) options, looking around the league as well."
Undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry, who had an impressive training camp and preseason, is on the practice squad and will be considered.
"He could also be an option," Fox said of the 6-foot-2, 209-pound Gentry. "We're not going to get into all that until Wednesday."
Five-year veteran Deonte Thompson started with White on Sunday and caught 1 pass for 15 yards. He had 22 receptions for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns last year, by far his best NFL season. He has been known more as a kickoff-returner than a receiver.
Six-year veteran Kendall Wright had 3 catches for 34 yards against the Falcons, and three-year pro Josh Bellamy had 3 catches for 27 yards. Bellamy also had his best NFL season last year, when he caught 19 balls for 282 yards. Like Thompson, his primary contributions have come on special teams, mostly in kick coverage.
Wright had 94 receptions for 1,079 yards with the Titans, but that was back in 2013. Last year he caught 29 passes for 416 yards.
2016 totals for current Bears wide receivers
REC. YDS Avg. TDS
Markus Wheaton, Steelers: 4 51 12.8 1
Kendall Wright, Titans: 29 416 14.3 3
Deonte Thompson, Bears: 22 249 11.3 2
Josh Bellamy, Bears: 19 282 14.8 1
Tre McBride, Titans: 0 0 0.0 0
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