Nick Foles won't go on IR with hip/glute injury, but questions linger about who will start at QB for Bears after bye week

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Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) leaves the game with an injury in the final minute of the fourth quarter on Nov. 16, 2020 at Soldier Field. The Vikings defeated the Bears 19-13. - Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

CHICAGO — A little more than 12 hours after Nick Foles was carted off the field and into the tunnels at Soldier Field by Chicago Bears staff, coach Matt Nagy said the quarterback’s injury isn’t as bad as it originally looked.

Nagy said Foles suffered a strain and contusion in his hip/glute while taking a hard hit on the Bears’ final drive of a 19-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. But Foles won’t have to go on injured reserve, and Nagy classified the injury as day-to-day on Tuesday.

“I was in there when they were working on him, and it definitely seemed a lot better than I thought,” Nagy said. “When I was on the field, I thought it was going to be a lot more significant.”

The Bears have a bye this week, and that will give Foles nearly two weeks to recover before the next game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Nov. 29. But even if he does recover in time, Nagy said the Bears will consider whether they should stick with Foles or turn back to quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

The Bears lost their fourth game in a row Monday night after the offense clawed out just 149 yards.

“We’ll take this bye week and we will self-scout ourselves and we will see the wheres and the whys,” Nagy said. “I can’t say one way or another. When you lose four games in a row, it’s all on the table. Everything’s out there. But the No. 1 thing with Nick and with Mitch that we are concerned about now is making sure their health is the No. 1 priority, and that’ll be significant here moving forward.”

Nagy didn’t know what the injury was for Foles when he went out near the 10-yard line at Soldier Field late Monday, but could see it in Foles’ face how much pain the quarterback was in.

Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo drove Foles into the ground on his right side, and the QB stayed down for several minutes as trainers examined the injury.

“He’s a tough dude, and he was in a lot of pain,” Nagy said Monday. “When you see that and you’re down there with him, you feel for him just because you don’t know how bad it was. So that part is hard.”

Bears staff eventually loaded Foles onto a cart, and Bears and Vikings players approached him with fist bumps and pats before he rode off the field.

“I know he’s upset,” Nagy said. “It’s been frustrating, it’s been hard, and that’s the part that’s difficult through all this because no one wants it more than him to be out there to fight with his teammates.

“So we’ll keep an eye on that. This bye is coming at a good time for us. We’re a little bit beat up right now, so we need to be able to get some guys back and get healthy.”

Tyler Bray, an eighth-year NFL veteran who had thrown only one regular-season pass in his career entering Monday, took over at quarterback with 37 seconds to play and completed 1 of 5 passes.

Bray was the Bears backup because Trubisky suffered a right shoulder injury against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 on his only play. Trubisky went to Los Angeles to seek a second opinion on the shoulder, and it was determined he did not need surgery or to go on injured reserve.

Now the Bears have almost two weeks to sort out whether Foles or Trubisky will be ready to play against the Packers. Trubisky last started in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons. Nagy pulled him in the middle of that game in favor of Foles, who led a 30-26 comeback victory.

Trubisky has played only the one play on which he was injured since then.

“There’s a possibility (Trubisky could return), but I don’t know that for sure,” Nagy said. “I think it’s going to be day by day.”

Foles’ injury capped a terrible night for the Bears offense under new play caller Bill Lazor. Foles completed 15 of 26 passes with no touchdowns, an interception and a 51.1 passer rating. He was sacked twice for losses of 16 yards behind an offensive line that has struggled with injuries.

The Bears had one last chance to win it when they got the ball back at their 20-yard line with 44 seconds to play. But on the first play of the drive, Odenigbo got through to Foles and took him down hard during an incomplete pass.

This is the second injury Foles has suffered in as many seasons. He suffered a broken collarbone in his Jacksonville Jaguars debut last year, underwent surgery and missed the next eight games. The Jaguars lost three straight when he returned in mid-November, and they turned back to rookie Gardner Minshew.

That season put the Jaguars in a position to want to trade Foles to the Bears, who brought him in to compete with Trubisky. Now the Bears must wait to see whether they will have to make yet another quarterback switch.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson said he saw Foles limping around the locker room Monday night and felt for him.

“It’s tough,” Jackson said. “It’s one of those breath-takers, especially seeing Nick, a guy like him with his leadership, his ability, what he brings to this offense and this team and this organization. So you never want to see your brother go down or any player go down. So we just wish the best. We just hope that it’s not that serious.”

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