Bears 'hopeful' LG Kyle Long returns to lineup in Week 1

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears are still holding out hope that Kyle Long’s surgically-repaired right ankle will have healed to the point that he can play in Chicago’s regular-season opener against Atlanta on Sept. 10.

“He's on target,” coach John Fox said on Tuesday. “We're hopeful, again he's really day-to-day as far as coming off that ankle. We'll just continue to rehab until medically cleared.”

Long started 47 games during his first three NFL seasons but played in just eight games last season after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in November. Long also partially tore the labrum in his left shoulder last summer, but he opted not to have surgery.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Long missed Chicago’s entire offseason program but practiced sporadically while the club conducted training camp in Bourbonnais.

However, Long’s been relegated to side work since the Bears kicked him out of practice for fighting on Aug. 14 -- coincidentally the final practice in Bourbonnais. Long met with the doctor that performed his ankle surgery after the club broke camp but has since remained off-limits to the media.

To counter Long’s absence, Chicago moved center Cody Whitehair over to left guard and started Hroniss Grasu in the middle during the past two preseason games. The Bears also have veteran offensive lineman Tom Compton on the roster who can play left guard.