Bears TE Trey Burton underwent sports hernia surgery roughly two months ago after the groin issue that led to his late scratch from January's wild-card defeat wasn't progressing the way he and the team hoped.
"It's similar to what he had at the end of the season," coach Matt Nagy announced Wednesday, following the second of three OTAs open to the media. "And so when the season was over we just thought, OK, let's pull back a little bit, and let's let him get a little bit of rest, come back and see where it's at. We did that and ... he wasn't feeling really comfortable with it. And so we went ahead and, a couple months ago, he ended up getting sports hernia surgery. So no need for us to keep dragging this thing out. Let's get the thing right. And so we feel like we've done that."
Nagy said the hope is that Burton, the Pro Bowl alternate entering Year 2 of a four-year, $32 million contract, will be back for training camp in late July.
Burton's mysterious ailment, landing him on the injury report on the eve of the Bears' 16-15 defeat to his former team, occurred in a walk-through one day earlier. But Burton's decision a few weeks prior not to be the trigger man on a trick two-point conversion similar to the "Philly Special" he helped make famous in Super Bowl LII, and his admitting afterward that his anxiety led to Anthony Miller, not him, completing the pass, exposed Burton to the wrath of some fans speculating he wasn't truly injured.
Wednesday's news officially should end that speculation. And his absence created an opportunity for starting "Y" TE Adam Shaheen, the former second-rounder in the cross hairs entering Year 3, to have a big day that included a few impressive sideline catches in team drills. Few players are facing more pressure to fulfill their potential this season than Shaheen, who, unlike Burton, has the size to be an in-line blocker, in addition to a mismatch threat as a receiver.
But Shaheen has been limited by injuries to 17 catches and 11 starts since being selected 45th overall out of Ashland University in 2017.
"The one thing with Adam, last year I was just starting to learn who he was as a player and what he could handle offensively," Nagy said. "Then he got hurt in the preseason game. That was disappointing because I think he knew that his arrow was going up. So the biggest thing for Adam is to make sure that he does everything he can physically to stay healthy. And then mentally, he was in all the meetings last year, making sure that he was staying up mentally with everything. Now to be able to put both of those things together is going to be the biggest prize for us."