CHICAGO — Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney will be placed on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season after injuring his left ankle in the second half of Chicago’s 31-10 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.
Coach Matt Eberflus said Mooney is likely to undergo surgery. The third-year wide receiver was injured on the Bears’ second drive of the third quarter when he was blocking for running back David Montgomery. A Jets defender attempting to tackle Montgomery fell onto the back of Mooney’s left leg.
Mooney could not bear weight on his ankle and was helped off the field by athletic trainers.
“It’s unfortunate,” Eberflus said. “… Mooney did a great job blocking on that. It was a second effort. Obviously a really good run by David. A guy ended up trying to tackle him and swung around, and all of a sudden … his leg was there. So, we’ll see where it goes from there. That was unfortunate for him.”
Mooney is Chicago’s leading receiver through 12 games, with 40 receptions for 493 yards and two touchdowns. With Mooney out, the Bears are set to enter their final five games of the season with Equanimeous St. Brown as their most productive wide receiver. St. Brown has played 64.2% of snaps, the third-most of any skill position player in Chicago, and has 14 receptions for 195 yards and a touchdown.
Chase Claypool and Byron Pringle also figure to have increased workloads with Mooney sidelined. Claypool was acquired by the Bears at the trade deadline for Chicago’s 2023 second-round pick and had his highest receiving output (two catches for 51 yards) against the Jets. Pringle caught his first touchdown in a Bears uniform Sunday, which was his third game back after a six-week stint on injured reserve.
The loss of Mooney was felt throughout the locker room following the loss and again Monday.
“You feel it,” tight end Cole Kmet said. “When you have guys like that who do things the right way consistently and don’t complain about everything. He does what he’s told to do and does it at 100 percent all of the time. Those are the type of leaders that you want in the locker room and the type of guy that other guys in the locker room gravitate towards.”
Mooney was one of several Bears players injured during the Jets game. Safety Eddie Jackson went down with a noncontact foot injury in the second quarter. Eberflus said he did not know whether Jackson’s injury is also season-ending.
“We’ll see where it goes,” Eberflus said. “We’ve got to prepare. If it does happen that way then we’ll have to get some young guys ready to play.”
Right tackle Larry Borom, who stepped back into a starter’s role after Riley Reiff exited the first quarter with a shoulder injury, sustained an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, according to Eberflus.
“Obviously the health of Riley, we’ll see what goes on during the week with that,” Eberflus said. “We’ll see next man up. [Could] potentially be [Alex] Leatherwood or [Michael] Schofield or what’s the best combination of who’s the swing tackle.”
The Bears coach also classified Claypool and St. Brown as “day-to-day” but did not disclose their respective injuries.
Bears’ top receiver Darnell Mooney out for rest of season