The Bears announced late Saturday afternoon that Long did not accompany the team on their charter flight to Tampa, Florida.
The three-time Pro Bowl lineman had been listed as questionable on the official injury report after practicing all week on a limited basis.
Long said Friday that his health is improving, but stopped short of pronouncing himself fit to play in Week 2. Long hasn’t played in a game since he suffered a gruesome ankle injury last November — coincidently, against the Bucs in Tampa — that required surgery and months of rehabilitation.
“[I’m] getting closer and closer,” Long said. “I wouldn’t be able to tell you 100 percent [that I’m ready to play], but I will say I’m a lot farther along than I was.”
“It’s tough to articulate [what he has to see from himself at practice to know he’s ready to return]. But I’d say I’ll just know. I’ll know. And I think we’re getting pretty close.”
There’s a reasonable chance that Long — barring another setback — will return next week when the Bears host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Veteran Tom Compton will likely start at left guard for the second straight week.
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