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Emery: Conte Expected To Be Ready For Preseason Opener

Chris Conte. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Chris Conte. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

HALAS HALL (CBS) — Bears safety Chris Conte could start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but general manager Phil Emery expects him to be ready for the team’s first preseason game.

Conte underwent shoulder surgery in late March and was expected to be out four to five months, a timetable that meant he could either be ready for the start of training camp or miss the entire thing.

“He may be on PUP, but in terms of that first preseason game, we expect him to be (ready),” Emery said Thursday. “But obviously we’re talking about a healing and rehab process. It’s always a little bit of a non-predictor, but our best-guessed estimate and medical evidence would say that he’ll be ready for the first preseason game.”

The Bears’ first preseason game is Aug. 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.

As for why Conte waited until March to have the surgery, Emery said the safety was medically cleared at the end of last season, then didn’t feel right when he started his offseason training program.

“He signed out healthy,” Emery said. “He got in a situation – obviously, he’s very motivated to have a great year. He started training, and he just didn’t feel right. He had it examined and went through a decision-making process, and he made a decision to go ahead and have it done. Happy that he’ll be ready for camp and expect good things out of him.”

Obviously, it’s in Conte’s best interest to get back as soon as the shoulder allows. Emery reiterated Thursday that there are no starters at the safety position, and Conte will be a part of a competition that will include newcomers Ryan Mundy and M.D. Jennings, not to mention the possibility of a first-round draft pick joining the mix.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.