It has been a preseason laden with injuries for the Chicago Bears, with players like Earl Bennett, Matt Blanchard, DJ Williams and Jermon Bushrod all missing time with a variety of ailments.
Henry Melton, who received the team's franchise tag this offseason and will make $8.45 million in the 2013 campaign, was also among the walking wounded for the Bears. He suffered a concussion during the team's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, and has only recently resumed running exercises.
Despite the careful recovery period that he has gone through, the team had some good news regarding the lineman on Wednesday:
#Bears coach Marc Trestman expects that DT Henry Melton (concussion) will be cleared and ready to play in Week 1.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 28, 2013
Hearing that Melton will likely rejoin the lineup in Week 1 is a big boost to the Bears' chances in that game. The Cincinnati Bengals are a team rapidly on the rise, with offensive firepower to burn with the likes of Andy Dalton, AJ Green, and Giovani Bernard all poised to have big years.
Getting a player like Melton back is only going to help the Bears both in their pass rush and their run stopping game, and will ease the pressure on the linebacking core if Jon Bostic ends up getting the Week 1 start at the Mike linebacker position.
There is some concern that Melton could be limited due to the fact that he was completely shut down while recovering from the injury:
Trestman admitted that Melton's reps against the Bengals could be impacted by his conditioning level. #Bears
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) August 28, 2013
Even still, the Bears are much better off with Melton on the field than with him off of it, and if he ends up being cleared to practice on Monday for the team, then he should be in pretty good shape once Sunday rolls around.