By Adam Hoge-
(CBS) As the Bears prepare for Thursday’s NFL Draft, questions still loom about the health of last year’s first-round selection, offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, which could impact the approach the team takes this weekend.
Earlier this month in a conference call with season ticket holders, Bears general manager Phil Emery expressed optimism about Carimi, saying: “We’re very excited that he’s coming back. He’s going to really help solidify our offensive line.”
The right tackle is still on track to be ready for training camp, but seven months after dislocating his right knee and four months after his last surgery on the knee, he is still not fully recovered, a source close to Carimi told CBSChicago.com.
“I wouldn’t say it’s fully healed, but it’s getting closer,” the source said. “I think he’s feeling pretty good though. He’s working out a lot and on a really good diet.”
Carimi has a reputation as a hard worker, but he also has a history of injuries with his right knee going back to his college career at Wisconsin. His injury is also very similar — although not nearly as serious — to the dislocated kneecap former Bears first-round pick Marc Colombo suffered in 2002. Colombo never recovered as a Bear and was cut by the team in 2005. He eventually resurfaced to have a good career with the Cowboys and Dolphins before retiring earlier this week.
With that in mind, it would be more than understandable for the Bears to draft another offensive tackle as insurance if Carimi is still not 100 percent, although indications are that the position won’t be addressed in the first round.
“I would say he’s on the right track,” the source said about Carimi’s recovery. “Nothing great, but nothing really bad.”
Carimi is currently working out at Halas Hall and will “probably” be ready for the team’s mandatory veteran mini-camp June 12-14, the source added.
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