CHICAGO — Two of the best players we've seen during Bears training camp left Thursday night’s preseason game with injuries and did not return.
Kyle Fuller hurt his ankle on the opening kickoff. Zach Miller injured his foot in the second quarter.
Fuller told reporters that X-rays were negative, but the injury cost the 14th overall pick some valuable reps as he continues to get NFL game experience before the real games start. Kelvin Hayden was the nickel corner in Fuller’s absence.
The Miller injury was tough for both the team and the player, as injuries have hampered his career to this point.
“I feel like I belong, I feel like I can still play, I’ve just got to stay healthy,” he said during training camp.
Miller has been the star of the month of August, catching two touchdowns last week against the Eagles and continuing to look impressive in the final week in Bourbonnais. He got reps with the first-team offense before the injury, thanks in part to Dante Rosario’s absence (calf injury).
Miller was making a legit run at making the team, and he hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2011 because of injuries. The Bears immediately ruled Miller out of the game following the injury, which is not a good sign. Marc Trestman said he would have more information on Monday.
Special teams still not special: The job of kickoff returner remains wide open. Eric Weems is getting every opportunity to win – or lose – the job, and he had four returns for 95 yards, but also lost a fumble, which is not acceptable for this unit.
Pat O’Donnell had a much better night punting — though his first punt was aided when the Jaguars returner slipped. He averaged 48.3 net yards on his three punts, dropping two inside the 20-yard line, compared to Tress Way’s 40.0-yard net average on three punts.
The positive note on special teams was Sherrick McManis, who has had a stellar summer and made a great hit from his gunner spot on a punt late in the first half.
On the sideline: Chris Conte will have to wait for his first game action, as he was deemed not yet ready to play after returning to practice this past week and sat out Thursday night. Willie Young was a surprising scratch, but Trestman said it was due to a knee bruise, nothing serious. Rosario, Craig Steltz, Jordan Mills, Brian de la Puente, Eben Britton, Isaiah Frey and Chris Williams sat out with injuries.