Marquess Wilson fractures clavicle
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears announced that receiver Marquess Wilson suffered a fractured left clavicle during practice Monday after he landed awkwardly diving for a deep ball thrown by Jay Cutler.
Wilson could miss multiple regular-season games. He and the club's doctors were still trying to determine Monday afternoon whether the receiver would need surgery.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "He was continuing to ascend. It's football, unfortunately. Just anticipating some questions, let's let this thing simmer for a day and let's respect the situation that's happened. I know the next question is: What's next? There will be a time and a place for that. I just ask that we respect that today."
Wearing a sling outside the cafeteria at Olivet Nazarene University after practice, Wilson said that he hopes to return in time to contribute this season but that the team hadn't given him a time frame for recovery.
"As of now, we're still trying to figure that out," Wilson said.
The injury came as the first-team offense and first-team defense worked against each other in a situational drill. Typically, Trestman discourages players from diving for passes or interceptions during workouts, and can often be heard telling them to stay on their feet.
"That's the hardest part about coaching in practice," Trestman said. "You hear us say it all the time, 'Stay off the ground. Stay off the ground.' Diving for balls is one of the most difficult things not to do when you're a competitive player."
But in the situational matchup between the offense and defense, the scenario given by the staff was a fourth-down play to win the game. Cutler lofted the deep ball to an open Wilson, who was being bracketed in coverage by Charles Tillman and Ryan Mundy. Wilson landed on the ball and turned over on his left shoulder as he hit the ground.
"I was just trying to make a play," Wilson said. "Me being a receiver, I saw the ball and in my mind, I said, 'Go get it.' It was just second nature. I look back at it, and I probably shouldn't have done it."
A seventh-round pick in 2013, Wilson spent the offseason training with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Florida. Jeffery had spent the offseason training with Marshall before his breakout 2014 campaign. So Chicago's expectation for Wilson was that he'd return in 2014 to become a focal part of Chicago's offense and experience a breakout season similar to Jeffery's.
Tight end Martellus Bennett said it will be difficult to replace Wilson.
"He had been having an excellent camp," Bennett said. "He's been consistently making plays. Back in the day, he was a flash player. But he's been working so hard. Those are going to be some hard shoes for us to fill."
Trestman has said on numerous occasions that Wilson was the front-runner to win the No. 3 receiver position. Now the team will need to turn to other receivers such as Eric Weems, Josh Morgan, Josh Bellamy, Micheal Spurlock, Chris Williams and Armanti Edwards as potential slot contributors.
The team might also try to reach out to former Bears receiver Earl Bennett, who served as the team's No. 3 receiver last season and has a rapport with Cutler.
It's unclear whether Bennett is still interested in playing, however.
Bennett balked at taking a pay cut from Chicago during the spring, and the team released him in March. Bennett signed with the Cleveland Browns in May but was released the next month. Since then, multiple teams have expressed interest in Bennett, yet he hasn't accepted any offers.
As for Wilson, the time frame for recovery won't be known until the Bears learn the severity of the receiver's injury. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a fractured clavicle last season, which didn't require surgery but forced him out of action for eight weeks.
Wilson expressed frustration about the injury but wants to use the latest setback as a learning experience.
"You've just got to feed off this and then come back even stronger," Wilson said.