LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is getting closer to returning to action.
On Friday, Fields went through his first practice since dislocating his thumb last month against Minnesota and was listed as doubtful on the injury report for Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints.
“He’s progressing day to day now so it’s good to see and take that next step in that progression,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “He was dialed in on the game plan the whole week, as he’s been the last couple weeks.”
Eberflus added that Fields is ”…doubtful for the game, which is 51% out, but we’ll see where it progresses through this weekend and onto the start of next week as well.”
The Bears have a game on Thursday night at home against Carolina, and Fields’ return for that game seems more realistic than on Sunday. Tyson Bagent was announced earlier this week by Eberflus as starter for the Saints game and that Fields would be out. But, that was before Fields was upgraded to doubtful.
Fields was throwing with a glove on Friday, and has no other restraint on the thumb.
“It’s not fully back, no, and there’s, of course, still a little bit of pain, but like I said I’ve been preparing like I’m going to play, just meetings, walkthroughs and keeping locked in,” Fields said.
Whether he is able to play will depend a good deal on how it feels after Friday’s first work throwing in a limited practice.
“We’ll see just how it feels Sunday,” he said. “It felt good first day back throwing today, but I have to use a glove right now, but it’s progressing.”
The determining factor on whether he could be available Sunday or next Thursday is grip strength and if he can avoid further injury.
“Just if I’m going to be able to make all the throws and be able to withstand hits and stuff like that in the game,” he said.
Fields said he never thought he would need surgery because MRIs showed little damage, even though the thumb was bent out of position.
“To be honest, like, when it happened it really didn’t hurt that bad,” he said. “Like, I looked at my thumb and it just looked crazy.”
The Bears have reported linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (knee) and safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion) are out for the game, but safety Eddie Jackson is returning from a foot injury this week. Strongside linebacker Jack Sanborn will replace Edmunds at middle linebacker.
Also, they could have starting left tackle Braxton Jones back. He has been on injured reserve since Week 2, but went through his first full practice Friday and is eligible to return.
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