TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 13: Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bears reacts as he is carted off the field following an injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long is an important part of the long-term plan for the franchise. However, this offseason is largely going to be spent rehabbing a pair of surgeries.

The first actually happened during the season, after he got rolled up back in early December. It resulted in a surgery that repaired just about everything inside his ankle, per Howie Long in the Chicago Tribune.

If that wasn’t scary enough, it apparently was no fun for Long in the immediate aftermath of surgery. That’s because he had a horrific reaction to the medication he was given post-surgery:

“First two, three weeks was rough. I think he threw up 30 times that first night down in Charlotte at the hospital. Poor kid couldn’t even hold a pill down. Like with any player, you kind of have to have this feel of invincibility and when that invincibility is cracked for the first time, it’s kind of a shock. How you respond means everything.”

That invincibility was put to the test earlier in the season, as Kyle played through a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He made it to the point of the ankle injury without missing much time, but knew surgery was going to be necessary eventually.

It seems as if the younger Long is in a much better place a month out of surgery as he starts to rehab the ankle:

“My recent conversations with him, Facetime is the big thing now, which is nice,” Howie Long said. “I not only hear him but as you know with Kyle, you can kind of read his emotions by his facial expressions. He’s really good right now. I think the shoulder thing will be far less significant.”

He’ll likely have the shoulder surgery in mid-February as he gets the ankle rehab well underway according to the Tribune article.

Given the Bears’ horrific season in 2016, having a rejuvenated Kyle Long as a leader going forward should be a good thing. After all, it can’t get much worse in America’s Second City than it did in 2016, right?

(Well, for the football team, anyway.)

[Chicago Tribune]

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!