Lucas Patrick

Will the Bears get OL Lucas Patrick back in time for Week 1?

Chicago Bears center Lucas Patrick broke his right thumb on July 28 and has been sidelined ever since. And while the injury was bad enough to require surgery, the timing was a silver lining. There’s a chance he will return to the starting lineup in time for the Bears’ season-opener against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 11.

Coach Matt Eberflus met with the media Monday and said the Bears are assessing Patrick and the rest of the players returning from injury over the next couple of days. He didn’t rule out Patrick lining up at guard if his thumb isn’t quite ready to snap the ball.

“Just how he’s moving around, his conditioning level, where he’s at,” Eberflus said. “He can certainly function at a bunch of different spots for us. We’re looking at all those.”

Patrick signed a two-year, $8 million deal with Chicago this offseason after spending the first five years of his career with the Green Bay Packers. He’s proven capable of playing both center and guard during his time with the Packers and is certainly one of the Bears’ most talented interior offensive linemen. If he’s healthy enough to play, he has to play; regardless of where.

If the Bears decide to play Patrick at guard, veteran Cody Whitehair would be a logical start at center. He began his NFL career at the pivot and was one of the NFL’s more promising young centers at the time. Otherwise, Chicago would be forced to demote Teven Jenkins and start Sam Mustipher in the middle. That seems less than ideal.

The good news is Patrick is one step closer to returning to the starting lineup. He’ll be a welcome sight for an offensive line that remains a big question mark at the start of the Chicago Bears’ 2022 season.

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