Bears guard Kyle Long took another step on his road to recovery from a broken ankle Tuesday in practice, taking increased reps in 11-on-11 drills.
The three-time Pro Bowler, who missed the final seven games last year after sustaining the injury Nov. 13 in Tampa, had been relegated mostly to individual and 7-on-7 work.
It’s unclear whether Long will play in any preseason games, but the main objective is for him to be healthy when the Bears opener the regular season Sept. 10 against the Falcons.
“It’s just important to get him to Week 1,” said coach John Fox. “However we do that, I’m not going to predict. He’s increasing his reps. I think [Monday] he took two. [Tuesday] he took about 10 and a lot of it is getting confidence for anybody whether you’re hurt or not.”
Long, who had missed only one game due to injury over his first three seasons with the Bears, knows he must remain patient while rebounding from his broken ankle.
“We have a plan,” Long said. “Now’s not when we’re going to push it. I’m just listening to the trainers and doing what the coaches want me to do. They’ve been really great and understanding and I’ve been able to get a lot of treatment while here [at training camp]. But also being off the PUP list I can really focus on being at walkthroughs and being at individual periods, which is really important this time of year.”
On the mend: In other injury news, Lamarr Houston also took expanded team reps Tuesday in practice. The outside linebacker sustained a torn ACL last season in a Week 2 loss to the Eagles.
Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan is following a similar path while recovering from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee he sustained last Nov. 27 in a defeat to the Titans.
“He’s making progress,” Fox said “He’s done individual. We’re hoping to get to some 7-on-7 after [Thursday night’s preseason opener] and then eventually graduate to team. Again, the main goal is getting to Sept. 10.”
Huge fan: Bears outside linebacker Sam Acho has been impressive with Mike Glennon and is eager to watch the starting quarterback perform Thursday night against the Broncos.
“Personally, I’m a huge fan of Mike Glennon,” Acho said. “Just the way he handles himself, he’s obviously a great leader. But also just the way he carries himself on the field, the way he gets the ball out. I just love going against him. I can’t wait for him to go against another defense so he can show everybody else what he can do.”
Acho has also liked what he’s seen of another new teammate, explosive rookie running back Tarik Cohen, a fourth-round draft pick from North Carolina AT.
“Tarik’s a beast,” Acho said. “He’s a really good player. He’s a rookie, but he’s fast, quick and explosive. He’s a special player, in my opinion.”
Gas left in tank: Working primarily out of the slot, veteran receiver Victor Cruz has had a good first training camp with the Bears.
“I’ve been impressed with him,” Fox said. “He’s got a great feel for the game. Sometimes it might not be just how fast they are physically but how fast they play, and he seems to be that type of guy. He’s still got plenty of gas in the tank and we’re excited to have him.”
Cruz signed with the Bears May 30 after spending his first seven NFL seasons with the Giants. He entered the league in 2010 as an undrafted free agent from Massachusetts and developed into a star receiver who helped the Giants win a Super Bowl.