Reports are ‘encouraging’ after Chicago Bears guard Teven Jenkins goes to the hospital with a neck injury — one of several key losses

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Most of the Chicago Bears players and coaches gathered around the orange “C” logo at midfield just 2½ minutes into Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.

Right guard Teven Jenkins suffered a neck injury on what seemed like a routine running play, and the Bears watched a jarring scene unfold as he was loaded onto a stretcher and carted off the field.

After the game, coach Matt Eberflus said that Jenkins went to the hospital for his injury but that reports from medical staff were “positive” and “encouraging.”

“He was responsive,” Eberflus said. “We could see him moving his hands out there. … They just told me it’s encouraging. That’s all I’ve got from the medical staff right now.”

That was good news for a Bears team that suffered several injury losses in a 25-20 defeat to the Eagles.

The concept of a Bears “tank win” has taken off on social media. That’s defined roughly as when the now 3-11 Bears lose to bolster their draft standing but key young players — most notably quarterback Justin Fields — play well to further their development.

In many ways, Sunday’s loss was just that. Fields played pretty well while rushing for 95 yards and throwing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. The defense slowed the top-ranked Eagles offense enough to make it a respectable game, with rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon coming up with an interception and a fumble recovery.

But there’s one major problem in labeling Sunday a win of any sort: Too many good, young players were injured.

Along with Jenkins, cornerback Jaylon Johnson left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury on a 68-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown, whom Johnson covered much of the day.

Rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn suffered a left ankle injury while tackling tight end Jack Stoll in the third quarter and limped off the field.

And wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown — one of the Bears’ top options considering Darnell Mooney (ankle), Chase Claypool (knee) and N’Keal Harry (back) already were out with injuries — left one play before Jenkins to go into concussion protocol.

None of them returned.

When the Bears consider their building blocks for the future, Jenkins, Johnson and Sanborn very well could be in the discussions, so any of them missing playing experience for injury rehabilitation isn’t ideal.

Eberflus was typically short on injury information, so it’s unclear how serious they are. He said Sanborn, who has been a pleasant late-season surprise after the Roquan Smith trade, would get an MRI on his ankle.

Johnson was moving very gingerly in the locker room after the game but did talk to reporters, saying his injury was to his “abdominal.” When asked how he was feeling, Johnson used one word: “Hurting.”

Asked whether he could recover on a short week to face another tough offense in the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, Johnson said: “I don’t know. We’ll see how my body feels.”

The play on which Jenkins was injured, a 7-yard David Montgomery run, appeared harmless at first. Jenkins was pulling on the play and made contact with defensive end Josh Sweat. They twirled around while engaged and then Jenkins tumbled to the ground. He lay on his stomach, kicking his legs, before medical staff came out to check on him.

“It looked like his neck got stretched out a little bit on the pull,” center Sam Mustipher said. “From everything I’ve heard from everybody around the locker room, he’s doing well. He was moving his hands and talking on the field. In a situation like that, when somebody gets pulled off on a stretcher, that’s what you want to see.”

After a tough first year with the Bears that included a back injury, Jenkins, a 2021 second-round pick, has excelled in his move from tackle to right guard in 12 games this year, including 10 starts. He missed two games with a hip injury he said he had been battling since the beginning of the season.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said Thursday that Jenkins’ move inside gave the second-year pro “an opportunity to find himself.” And the Bears obviously wouldn’t want that disrupted again.

Mustipher and left tackle Braxton Jones said they hadn’t communicated with Jenkins immediately after the game but had received positive reports.

“All my prayers and wishes are out to him doing well,” Jones said.

The injury had in-game consequences too. Losing a key member of the offensive line against an Eagles defense that leads the league in sacks wasn’t ideal. Fields was sacked six times.

“That’s tough,” Mustipher said. “And then especially when it happened early on, your juices are flowing, your adrenaline is flowing, getting out there to play a physical game against a very good opponent. And then to see something happen like that, it’s kind of deflating.

“But you’ve got to regroup, refocus and then get back into it. But, yeah, it’s definitely tough to see.”

Fields also left the game in the fourth quarter, one play after he hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season. After an 18-yard scramble that was negated by a holding penalty, he went to the locker room with what he said were cramps and received IV fluids. He returned on the next drive.

It’s not the first time Fields has been bothered by cramps this season. He also suffered them against the Atlanta Falcons. He said he didn’t receive an IV before Sunday’s game because he thought he wouldn’t need it in the cold.

“I’m still exerting energy, still using my body,” Fields said. “From now on, I’m going to have to get an IV.”

The Bears don’t want to play without another of their good, young players.

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