Chicago Bears rookie linebacker Jack Sanborn is done for the season, moved to injured reserve Tuesday due to an ankle injury he suffered in the first half of Sunday’s 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sanborn has been a revelation for the Bears this season, particularly since the team traded linebacker Roquan Smith to Baltimore in late-October. After joining the Bears as an undrafted free agent in May, Sanborn made his first start on defense in Week 9 against the Miami Dolphins. In the six games he started, he totaled 57 tackles including five for loss, and two sacks.
Now, though, Sanborn’s development will be put on pause until 2023 with the Bears coaching staff eager to continue overseeing his growth.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday afternoon that Sanborn’s injury wasn’t serious, and had it occurred earlier in the season the linebacker would have been likely to return to the field after a stint on I.R. But the Bears only have three games left, including Saturday’s home contest against the Buffalo Bills.
On Tuesday, Eberflus praised Sanborn for his maturity and said he was impressed with the way the young linebacker played when he moved into a heightened role.
“He had a lot of tackling production,” Eberflus said. “His instincts we saw. And we saw that during training camp, so we were excited about that. He’s an impactful player. We’re excited to have him.”
Linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi has been impressed with Sanborn’s approach and improvement since the spring and sees a bright future for the young linebacker.
“We could see it during training camp and into the preseason,” Borgonzi said last month. “This never seemed too big for him. He has played a lot of football. He’s confident. He sees the game really well. He’s smart.”
In other injury news, right guard Teven Jenkins could be in line to return to practice this week after suffering a neck injury Sunday against the Eagles. Jenkins went down on the game’s fourth play after pulling and engaging in a block with defensive end Josh Sweat. He had to be taken off the field on a backboard and was later transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Eberflus labeled Jenkins as “day to day” Tuesday and wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him practicing and playing this week.
“It’s a possibility,” he said. “We’ll evaluate it tomorrow and see where it goes and see how he feels.”
Fellow guard Cody Whitehair, meanwhile, may not be able to play Sunday with a knee injury. On the team’s estimated injury report for Tuesday – the Bears held a walk-through instead of a practice – Whitehair was listed as a non-participant and it’s possible he could be shut down for the remainder of the season.