By Chris Emma–
(670 The Score) Few knew the struggle Bears guard Kyle Long had endured this season. It was understood he battled back from surgery on his right ankle and played through pain in his left shoulder, but the extent of it all wasn’t known.
On Tuesday evening, Long underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. It remains to be seen whether he will need surgery specific to his shoulder, ankle or finger, all injured at times this year, though Long suggested on social media there will be two more procedures. Coach John Fox couldn’t confirm the details.
After his procedure, Long took to Twitter and detailed his experiences of the last several years with openness he hasn’t offered before.
“For people wondering about all my injuries; I’m gonna lay out a timeline for you and it will hopefully help paint a picture of what has transpired the last few years,” Long tweeted. “First three years I played every game except for one or two. I switched positions to help team in third year (also wanted a challenge) learned a lot about OL switching positions.
“Fourth year, back to guard… healthy, dominant and improving on a daily basis. Tore my labrum in preseason. Opted to play the year and be there for my team – plan was to fix after season. Late in the fourth year I got rolled up in the pile and mangled my ankle. Surgery and rehab needed… no time for shoulder.
“Fifth year coming in I was no where near 100% and I did what I could to play and help our young team. As year went on (as a result of shoulder) things happened in proximity of shoulder that were unfortunate. Neck became an issue. Now is time for me to fix myself. Wanted you guys to hear it from me. I’m very excited about what the future holds for this team, and I’m jacked up about being healthy again.
“And again, thank you all for the support it means the world to me and my family.”
The 29-year-old Long signed a four-year contract extension last season that slots him with the Bears through 2021. A first-round pick in 2013, Long has been a key staple amid constant organizational change.
Long suffered the torn labrum in August 2016 during practices with the Patriots in New England. He missed several weeks but returned for the regular-season opener and played through the pain. Long then suffered the ankle injury, tearing multiple ligaments and mangling the structure of his right ankle. It required surgery days later, and effects from that procedure left Long without the necessary surgery to his left shoulder. He also suffered a dislocated finger during the late October game in New Orleans this season.
Though the battles Long endured weren’t clear outside Halas Hall, his Bears teammates could see the fight he gave toward this season.
“He went out there, played really well, played hard, gave it everything he’s got,” Hroniss Grasu said. “We really appreciate him for that.”