Bears Guard Kyle Long Won’t Require Shoulder Surgery

By Chris Emma–

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CBS) — In a departure from the expected plan, Bears guard Kyle Long won’t need surgery on his injured left shoulder, doctors have determined.

Long suffered a partial labrum tear in training camp that kept him out the final weeks of August. He played through that pain for most of 2016 until a gruesome right ankle injury ended his season in November. Long’s ankle became the primary focus of this offseason. With it healing well, attention then turned to his shoulder.

Doctors believe that the best course of action for Long is to not have surgery and let the shoulder heal on its own.

“He’s working hard, and there’s daily progress on that,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said Wednesday at the NFL Combine. “It wasn’t just one or two doctors, it was multiple opinions and doctors with a lot of conviction that this was the right thing to do. He’s strong. He’s kind of a freak genetically. His shoulder’s doing good. There’s going to be maintenance as far as strength and everything, which he’s doing. We don’t have a lot of concerns with that right now.”

A Pro Bowl player in his first three seasons, Long signed a four-year extension prior to the start of the 2016 season.

The Bears have an interior offensive line that includes Long, rookie Cody Whitehair at center and Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton on the left side. Pace is plenty pleased with his offensive line.

“You look at the interior offensive line that we have you know I think it’s set to be one of the better interior groups in the league,” Pace said. “Of course there are more pieces we need to add that’s important. I think you can see the value of building a strong offensive line and what it does for the quarterback. In Dallas, you have a great example of that. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel like we’re a lot better there than it was a couple of years ago. It’s a steady improvement.”

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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