By GENE CHAMBERLAIN | Associated Press
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears' defense took a huge hit Friday when coach Matt Nagy announced outside linebacker Khalil Mack would go on season-ending injured reserve due to a foot injury.
Mack will have surgery next week, but Nagy did not specify the nature of the foot injury. Mack's season ends with six sacks.
Mack’s injury has been a problem since the Bears played Cleveland in Week 3, but he tried to play through it until going to the sidelines for the Oct. 31 game against San Francisco, and hasn't returned.
“I know with him, it’s been the last several weeks trying to get right,” Nagy said. “And I think we did everything as far as trying to attack it the right way with him.
“I know he’s put a lot of time and energy in trying to get back and see where things are at. This is where we’re at.”
Mack played through the injury against the Raiders, the Packers and then Oct. 24 against Tampa Bay.
The Bears elevated outside linebacker Cassius Marsh from the practice squad and announced they signed veteran outside linebacker Bruce Irvin to their practice squad as potential help in the pass rush. It’s possible Irvin could be flexed to the 53-man roster for Sunday’s game with Baltimore but that hasn’t yet been determined.
Second-year player Trevis Gipson is Mack's backup.
The injuries are piling on the Bears defense as they will not have defensive end Akiem Hicks for the Baltimore game due to an ankle injury, and they also moved inside linebacker Danny Trevathan on Friday to injured reserve as a result of a knee injury.
There is no doubt the Mack injury is the biggest, however.
“It’s stuff that he’s been dealing with and we’ve been for weeks, he’s trying to get through it,” Nagy said. “Through him and our doctors and everybody else, this is part of the game. You try to handle things the right way.
“I know he’s frustrated because he’s such a competitor, but this is the best thing for him and the best situation to be able to help him out and get him fixed.”
Chicago's defense has dropped from near the top early to 12th in the league. They had been sack leaders, but are now tied for eighth with 25.
Defensive lineman Eddie Goldman called it case of everyone else picking up the slack in the pass rush.
“Just get to the quarterback more,” Goldman said. “There’s no way you can fill his shoes, but just try to get to the quarterback as much as you can.”
The Bears also have another injury issue for Sunday’s game as wide receiver Allen Robinson has not practiced this week and is listed doubtful to face the Ravens due to a hamstring injury suffered Nov. 8 against Pittsburgh.
Robinson hasn’t missed a game since 2018.