The Chicago Bears might have to get by without some important players in their wild-card game against the New Orleans Saints, after leading tackler Roquan Smith and rookie receiver Darnell Mooney missed practices all week because of injuries.
Both were listed as questionable for Sunday, as was cornerback Jaylon Johnson.
Smith (left elbow) was hurt on Green Bay’s first possession last week, while Mooney (ankle) exited in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s loss to the Packers.
Smith’s injury could leave the Bears without a disruptive force at inside linebacker and make containing the Saints that much more difficult, particularly if star running back Alvin Kamara returns from the Reserve/COVID-19 list as expected. He missed last week’s win over Carolina.
Smith had a career-high 139 tackles and ranked second in the league with 18 for loss. If he’s not available, Josh Woods could be in line for his first career start after playing 28 snaps last week. But the third-year pro is questionable with toe and glute injuries.
“There’s complete domination in the way (Smith’s) playing,” coach Matt Nagy said. “I mean, he’s playing on another level. And so, when you lose that, that’s a part of football. And I think whoever the next guy up that has to step up and go in there and do their thing.”
Mooney set career highs with 11 catches for 93 yards against Green Bay. A fifth-round draft pick from Tulane, he is the Bears’ second-leading receiver with 61 receptions for 631 yards.
Johnson, a second-round pick from Utah, has been sidelined since Week 14. He started each of the 13 games he played.
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