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Chicago Bears rookie class experiencing growing pains

Injury issues have kept the Chicago Bears' 2012 rookie class from making a big impact.


The Chicago Bears have been successful through the first nine games of the 2012 season, compiling a 7-2 record and sitting atop the NFC North. However, Chicago's rookies haven't contributed much to that success, as injury woes have held the Bears' first-year players back.

Chicago's top four picks in the 2012 NFL Draft have missed at least some time this season. Defensive end Shea McClellin, the Bears' first-round pick out of Boise State, suffered a concussion on Chicago's first defensive series against the Houston Texans last week, and he won't be able to play this week against the San Francisco 49ers. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who the Bears picked in the second round, broke his hand in Week 5 against the Jaguars and hasn't seen the field since.

The Bears took safety Brandon Hardin in the third round, and he suffered a neck injury in fall camp, ending the 23-year-old's rookie season before it began. Tight end Evan Rodriguez was selected by Chicago in the fourth round. He has dealt with a knee injury and only played in five games this season. Rodriguez is still looking for his first catch.

The Bears and 49ers meet Sunday at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. Kickoff is scheduled for noon CT, and the game will be televised by FOX.