Long Battling Back From Injury-plagued Season

Bear Blitz
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 Kyle Long was the one ‘rock’ on the Bears’ roster his first three seasons, but he’s a bit of a question mark now. Injuries ravaged his body last year. 

Long’s string of three Pro Bowl appearances seems like a long time ago. That’s how much of a toll last season took on him.  He missed half the Bears’ games and the half that he did play in he was playing  with a banged up left shoulder.

“Initially when I had the shoulder it was very loose and it would come out and come back in,” says Long.

The shoulder still isn’t 100 percent, but it is better.  The bigger concern for Long is his right ankle which he also injured last season and he had surgery on in late November.

“I had really extensive surgery on my ankle and lower leg, both sides of my leg. It was a really, really tough process going through that with the medication they provided me. It was protocol. It was standard operating procedure, but my body didn’t really react to it very well. “

Long lost 40 pounds while on the medication and recovering.  The weight is back on now, but in addition to his health there’s another challenge facing Long. He has moved from right guard to left guard. It’ll be the third different position on the line that he’s played for the Bears.

“I can take the knowledge that I have acquired the last few years at guard and at tackle and apply it to my new position,” says Long. “I just have to take it one day at a time.”

Long has a lot on his plate.  A fourth trip to the Pro Bowl isprobably the farthest thing from his mind right now. It could be a long road back for him re-establishing himself as one of the top guards in the NFL.

“I wouldn’t say I have a lot of anxiety in regard to my health and my future,” says Long. “I would say that there’s a lot of pressure.” “I have to fight pressure with pressure. I’ve got to work harder and harder in the training room and in the weight room and on the field.”

 When asked if he’ll be ready for the season opener Long didn’t sound overly optimistic. He says there’s no timetable for his return.

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