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Pernell McPhee (knee) could start season on PUP

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The Chicago Bears' best defensive player from 2015 might not be available to start the 2016 season.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that linebacker Pernell McPhee faces the real prospect of starting the season on the physically unable to perform list and missing the first six games due to a knee injury, according to a source.

McPhee has been on the PUP list throughout camp after recovering from offseason knee surgery. While GM Ryan Pace didn't sound worried about McPhee's recovery two weeks ago, Rapoport reported that the pass rusher's rehab has been slow.

McPhee missed two games in 2015 and was limited down the stretch due to his knee troubles. He recorded six sacks in his first season in Chicago.

Coach John Fox was mum on McPhee's status when asked this week about the linebacker's availability to start the season.

"We have some avenues that we're going to have to decide here as we cut down to the 53 and some time from now, so I don't like making those decisions now," Fox said, via ESPN "But we'll continue, like I said, to evaluate him. There are options. He did start the season on PUP. We have a lot of options and we'll do what's best for us and him."

After signing a big deal last season, McPhee was set to be the cornerstone of a revamped Bears front seven that added linebackers Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman and first-round pick Leonard Floyd, along with defensive end Akiem Hicks. If McPhee indeed misses the start of the season, it will be a blow to a Bears team that is riddled with holes throughout its roster.

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