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Banged-up Bears lose receiver Darnell Mooney for the season

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears had no one on their injury report just over a month ago when they played the New England Patriots.

Times have changed — painfully.

A handful of players joined quarterback Justin Fields on the sidelines with injuries in the Bears’ 31-10 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, including a pair of team leaders in wide receiver Darnell Mooney and safety Eddie Jackson.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus said Monday that Mooney needs ankle surgery and will be lost for the rest of the season. Chicago is still having Jackson’s foot injury evaluated, but in the midst of a 3-9 season — and a five-game losing streak — the last thing the Bears need is to lose more players.

“Eddie goes down, Darnell Mooney goes down, you have a couple of guys go down,” Eberflus said. “The other guys got to step up and the other guys have to get into different positions and operate.”

Mooney is the Bears’ leading receiver with 40 receptions, while Jackson went into Sunday’s game with a team-high four interceptions, tied for third in the NFL.

Losing Mooney deprives Fields of his favorite target — when he does return. Eberflus said Fields remains day to day with a shoulder separation.

“Once we got going into the offense, I think (Mooney) really started to shine,” Eberflus said. “Outstanding at blocking the perimeter, he had a really nice connection with Justin throughout that stretch. He is our leading receiver.

The injury to Jackson, combined with a concussion Jaquan Brisker already had and a hamstring injury to Dane Cruikshank, left the Bears playing their only two remaining safeties Sunday: DeAndre Houston-Carson and rookie seventh-round pick Elijah Hicks.

“I mean, Eddie is, in my opinion, the best in the game,” Houston-Carson said. “A great teammate. Obviously, it hurts us. But we just have to find a way to try to find that production from other people.”

STOCK UP

Chase Claypool. Acquired for a second-round draft pick, Claypool made a real impact downfield for the first time with catches of 31 and 20 yards. The 31-yarder set up their first touchdown.

UP NEXT

The Bears host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday. The Packers beat them 27-10 at Lambeau Field in Week 2.

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