Bears running back David Montgomery limped off the field at practice Wednesday after injuring his groin when making a cut on a running play.
Montgomery, a second-year pro who is expected to carry much of the load in the running game, went down in a non-contact drill. After he took a handoff from Mitch Trubisky and ran to his left, Montgomery fell as he cut. He later was carted to Halas Hall to be examined by the medical staff.
Coach Matt Nagy said it was uncertain how severe the injury is.
“You try to stay as positive as you can,” Nagy said.
Montgomery had a solid rookie season, rushing for 889 yards and six touchdowns. He also made 25 receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown.
Veteran Tarik Cohen is the Bears' other main running back. They did not draft any other running backs this year.
Montgomery was enjoying a strong training camp, had lost 7 pounds in an attempt to get into better shape and improve on an 889-yard rookie season.
Now the Bears are left searching through a running back group short on experience.
Former practice squad player Ryan Nall is one of the key backups to Montgomery and has two NFL carries. His former Oregon State teammate, undrafted rookie Artavis Pierce, is another backup. Tarik Cohen is the third-down runner, but not an every-down ball carrier out of the backfield.
The other player working with running backs and in the backs’ meeting room is former wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Between them, it seems the Bears could be lacking a potential all-around back should Montgomery be out long.
“There are certain things that are their strengths versus what David does,” Nagy said. ’I think we all know that.
“With Cordarrelle still doing things with some wide receiver stuff within our system that we’re doing but yet playing some more running back, playing a lot more running back and being with them, he’s learning. He’s learning that stuff. So these experiences he gets, he probably doesn’t do as well as David. ”
One concern is pass blocking, which coaches had said was a strength of Montgomery’s.
“David has been playing that position his entire life. And then (Cohen) same thing, does a lot of good things. He has strengths and weaknesses back there. So when times like this happen and you have a guy in practice that’s out, now sometimes you’ve got to adjust and you can work to the strengths of those other players.”
Nagy couldn’t shoot down the possibility GM Ryan Pace would consider a free agent running back if Montgomery is gone for long.
“What are our options? Do we like where we’re at right now, or do we feel like we need to go outside of the building?” Nagy said. “That’s all stuff that we’ll discuss. Whatever we do, we’ll do it so that it helps us. For sure, we’ve gotta look at all that.”
With only 18 days until the season-opener at Detroit, Nagy thinks there is still time to bring in a back and have him prepared within the offense if the decision is to bring in another player.
“But we as coaches have gotta do our job of making sure it’s a smooth transition,” Nagy said.
The injury isn’t the only one plaguing the Bears at the moment. Both defensive end Akiem Hicks (quad muscle) and wide receiver Allen Robinson II (ankle) have been out since last week, although Nagy said he expects the injuries shouldn’t prevent them from being available for the opener.