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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:00 am

Bears receiver White on IR for third straight year

Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Bears wide receiver Kevin White suffered a broken collarbone against the Atlanta Falcons and will go on injured reserve for the third straight season.

The Bears are not calling it a season-ending injury because they have the option of activating players on injured reserve later if they've healed.

“We'll evaluate moving forward whether he can return or not,” coach John Fox said Monday. “That's pretty open-ended now with the new (injured reserve) rules.”

Fox said it isn't a certainty whether White will have surgery but confirmed it's a possibility.

“My heart goes out to him,” Fox said. “He was very disappointed and discouraged in the locker room after the game for obvious reasons.”

The seventh pick of the 2015 draft out of West Virginia, White was injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday's season-opening loss after his second catch for no gain. He came off the field, favoring the shoulder slightly, and later went to the locker room. The team confirmed the severity of the injury Monday.

White went on injured reserve last year after suffering a spiral fracture to his left fibula in the fourth game. White missed all of 2015 with a stress fracture to his left tibia.

In three seasons, White has played five games and has 21 receptions for 193 yards without a touchdown.

White was unavailable for comment after the game or Monday but expressed his feelings via Twitter: “I ask why me, but I know God has a plan much bigger than what I want. I'm thankful for everyone that's supporting me.”

The injury means the Bears are now without both the starting receivers they began with at training camp. Cameron Meredith suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament in the third preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

Wide receiver Markus Wheaton just began catching a real football at practice last week after missing almost a month with a broken pinkie and could join the team this week in preparation for Sunday's game in Tampa. Fox said Wheaton practiced “with a fairly major club on his hand” last week.

It's possible the Bears could elevate undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry from the practice squad or sign a free agent wide receiver.

The Bears also are dealing with a concussion and a pectoral injury to linebacker Jerrell Freeman. Running back Benny Cunningham suffered a high ankle sprain and his status will be updated later in the week.