BOURBONNAIS — Marquess Wilson began Monday as a virtual lock for the Bears’ No. 3 wide receiver spot behind Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. He finished it with his right arm in a sling to take some of the weight off a fractured clavicle, suffered on an all-out dive for a 40-yard Jay Cutler pass.
“I look back at it, and I probably shouldn’t have done (the dive),” Wilson said. “It just happens.”
A decision on whether surgery would be required had not been made as of mid-day Monday, but initial estimates for recovery ranged from six to eight weeks. Veteran Josh Morgan is perhaps the most experienced alternative, but Eric Weems, while undersized, has consistently made difficult catches through camp.
Wilson knew immediately that something was wrong. He landed on the ball as he hit the ground, and “I just couldn’t breathe,” he recalled.
Wilson, the Bears’ seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft, had added weight and muscle, weighing in at 200 pounds at the start of camp. He consistently made strong catches even against good coverage and was among the brightest spots of camp, in a position of real need for the Bears’ offense.
“We will pray for his recovery as soon as he can get things done that he needs to get done,” said coach Marc Trestman, who declined to speculate on the length of Wilson’s absence or on the succession plan behind him.
The ideal is for players, particularly wide receivers, not to lay out for efforts like Wilson’s. But natural drive to make plays overrides restraint in those situations.
“We were certainly confident that he was going to continue to grow and improve into the season,” Trestman said. “You hear us say it all the time: ‘Stay off the ground, stay off the ground.’ It’s one of the most difficult things not to do when you’re a competitive player. We promote it, talk about it, but in my experience it’s very difficult to stop when a guy goes to make a play on a ball.
“You’re not going to be disappointed with him if he doesn’t go to the ground. The team’ll know that and you just encourage them to stay up on the next play and we know what happened.”