The bad luck for Bears defensive linemen worsened on Sunday when tackle Nate Collins, starting just the second game of his career, suffered a torn ACL against the New Orleans Saints, an injury with an eight-month recovery period.
Tackle Stephen Paea’s status for Thursday’s game remains uncertain after he was unable to be active for the Saints game. Undrafted rookie free agent Zach Minter dressed for the game, did not play, but will be given a closer look this week for use on Thursday.
Collins will go onto IR along with fellow tackle Henry Melton, who suffered the same injury in the win at Pittsburgh. Defensive end Turk McBride was lost for the year with a ruptured Achilles tendon during training camp and tackle Corvey Irvin was waived/injured after going down with an ankle injury in camp.
Losing Collins is a deep blow to a thin unit and costs Collins the chance to play against the New York Giants, the team that signed him in 2010 as an undrafted free agent and placed him on its practice squad. He never started a game before this season, making his first against the Detroit Lions after Melton’s injury.
Collins posted the highest grade of any Bears defensive lineman against New Orleans, according to ProFootballFocus.com, with a sack, hurry and three tackles.
The Bears were pleased with Corey Wootton’s work inside at the three-technique, although Wootton by his own assessment needs to work with lower pad levels vs. guards, typically shorter than the tackles Wootton sees at defensive end.
“We’ve got to go out and play Thursday night with the guys that we have that are healthy,” Trestman said. “I know our guys are going to give their best efforts. They’re motivated, certainly, to do that. And then when this game is over, we’ll have a couple of extra days and we’ll be able to kind of gather ourselves and see where we are with the present situation.”