Bushrod sheds boot, return uncertain

Jermon Bushrod's return from a strained right calf is uncertain. AP Photo/Scott Boehm

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears left tackle Jermon Bushrod shed the walking boot covering his strained right calf on Friday, but how the team proceeds remains "a day-by-day" process, he said.

"I'm coming along," Bushrod said. "As you can see, I'm out of the boot, which is a good step, a step forward. I'm trying to get back as soon as I can, but I don't want to mess it up anymore."

Considering Bushrod is recovering from the first calf injury he's sustained over a six-year career in the NFL, his status for the Aug. 9 preseason opener at Carolina remains in question. The team prefers to take a cautious approach regarding Bushrod's return to minimize the risk of a setback.

Bushrod said "it'd be nice" to play in the exhibition opener "to get out there and put some of this hard work we've been doing out there against another opponent." At this point, however, the chances for that seem remote.

After all, the regular-season opener against the Bengals is approximately a month away, and although the club needs Bushrod back in the fray to speed along the offensive line's bid at gaining cohesion, it’s unnecessary to risk further injury to a $35.9 million investment before it's time to play games that actually count.

"I do not want to get (the injured calf) to the point where I'm out even longer. The training room and I, we're taking it day-by-day," Bushrod said. "It's going pretty good. There are no complaints. I've never had an injury like this before, so I don't want to push it to the point where I'm out a few more weeks. I want to take it day-by-day. That's all I've got to do."

Set to anchor an offensive line projected to field as many as three new starters, Bushrod is the only member of the offensive line who has experience executing the blocking schemes the team will employ under new coach Marc Trestman and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. Bushrod worked with Kromer in New Orleans, which brought the tackle into the league in 2007 as a fourth-round pick.

Bushrod's backup, Jonathan Scott, has also missed practice time due to a sore knee.

The injuries have resulted in the Bears' utilizing different lineups along the offensive line, with tackles J'Marcus Webb and Eben Britton spending time working both the left tackle and right tackle spots.

"Fortunately, Bush(rod) will be back and Jonathan will be back, and we'll have the whole group in there," Trestman said. "We just accept that this is the way it's gone. It's next man up. We'll get them all back."