Footage from ABC 7 shows Montgomery slipping after receiving a handoff from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. It was an awkward fall for Montgomery, who was in obvious pain before struggling to his feet.
After practice, Bears coach Matt Nagy confirmed that Montgomery injured his groin but he wasn’t sure about the severity of the injury.
Both ESPN and NFL Network have characterized the injury as a groin strain with the team having some optimism that Montgomery avoided a serious injury.
Source says Bears RB David Montgomery's injury at practice today is believe to be a groin strain, though he's undergoing further evaluation. There is some hope he avoided serious injury.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) August 26, 2020
#Bears RB David Montgomery left practice today with what is believed to be a groin strain, per source. Optimism that he avoided a serious injury. Evaluation ongoing.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 26, 2020
The full scope of the injury — and how long Montgomery will be sidelined — will be determined after further testing. If Montgomery is out for a significant period of time, it would be a big blow for the Bears. Montgomery led the team with 889 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, and is in line for another big workload in Year 2.
There is not much proven depth behind Montgomery other than Tarik Cohen, who mainly operates as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. The 5-foot-6 Cohen had only 64 rushing attempts in 2019 but did catch 79 passes as a safety valve for Trubisky, who struggled much of the season.
If the Bears are forced to explore the free agent market — a possibility Nagy acknowledged — there aren’t many promising options. Devonta Freeman, who spent the last six years with the Atlanta Falcons and has two career 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, is the most notable name. He had 656 yards in 2019.
"We talk about contingency. This is the year of the contingency [plan], so now this is one without COVID as an injury,” Nagy said after practice per NBC Chicago. "What are our options? Do we like where we're at right now, or do we feel like we need to go outside of the building? That's all stuff that we'll discuss."
There’s also the question of Chicago’s starting quarterback battle, which has not been settled with Week 1 on the horizon. Trubisky, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, is duking it out with Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl hero Nick Foles, who spent 2019 with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being traded to Chicago. One Chicago-based reporter believes Foles currently holds the edge at this point in training camp.
Nagy has said he is in no rush to name a starter as there are still a few more weeks until the team’s opener on the road against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 13.
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