Tue, 07 Feb 2023

Injured QBs return for Bears' meeting with Packers

Field Level Media
03 Dec 2022, 07:40 GMT+10

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is dealing with thumb and rib injuries, while Chicago Bears counterpart Justin Fields has been battling a separated non-throwing shoulder.

Will the pair oppose one another Sunday in Chicago as they did during the Packers' 27-10 home romp in Week 2?

Things look to be trending that way, as long as there aren't any major setbacks leading up to kickoff at Soldier Field.

Rodgers received no designation on the report Friday, when Fields was removed from the injury report and reinstalled as the starting quarterback of the Bears.

Fields cleared the required steps to return from a left shoulder injury, established by the Bears' medical team and coaching staff.

"It's just progress. Mobility and strength," Chicago coach Matt Eberflus said of Fields' progress. "He feels good. Had a good practice again (Friday). We're excited where he is. ... He feels like he's 100 percent, ready to go. When you get your starting quarterback back, and he's electric like that, obviously it's a big boost in the arm."

What is certain: the Packers (4-8) and Bears (3-9) are reeling as they renew the NFL's most-contested rivalry.

Green Bay has lost seven of eight, while Chicago enters on a five-game skid, including three losses by one possession.

Given the Packers' success with Rodgers under center over the past decade-plus, it's the rare meeting between the teams in which there's more at stake with draft positioning than playoff seeding.

Still, Green Bay is harboring slim postseason hopes, as well, needing to win out while hoping for help.

"I think we're always trying to develop and look for opportunities to get some guys in there that you might not know about, but I think right now the focus is 100 percent on winning this football game and doing whatever it takes," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said.

The Packers have won the past seven games in the series. Their bid to extend the run to eight figures to include Rodgers, as LaFleur said his expectation is for Rodgers to play in Week 13.

Green Bay ruled out left tackle David Bakhtiari, who underwent an emergency appendectomy. Safety Darnell Savage (foot) is doubtful after leaving Sunday's game against Philadelphia and not practicing this week.

Rodgers, who turned 39 on Friday, left in the third quarter of the team's 40-33 loss at Philadelphia last week with injured ribs. Rodgers, who already had been playing with a broken thumb, said he struggled to breathe and move his upper body.

While the Packers scored in the 30s for just the second time this season, it wasn't enough as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for 157 yards while throwing for 153 more and two touchdowns.

Fields, a developing dual threat who rushed for 410 yards from Weeks 9-11, surely would present matchup nightmares for a scuffling Packers defense. Fields has recorded both a passing and rushing touchdown in five straight games, but missed last week's loss to the New York Jets.

"We'd be foolish not to plan for Justin," LaFleur said. "Because if you don't, you will get gutted. That quarterback run game they have is pretty spectacular, and it doesn't even always show up just in the run game, but just on his ability to drop back and if nothing is there to find a window and an escape lane and make you pay in that regard."

Bears coach Matt Eberflus announced Wednesday that safety Eddie Jackson (foot) would miss the rest of the season. He was among several Bears injured in the Jets game.

Injuries to offensive linemen Riley Reiff (back) and Larry Borom (ankle/knee) may create an opening for right tackle Alex Leatherwood to make his first start as a Bear. Borom (ankle, knee) was ruled out on Friday.

"We are excited and intrigued to see where it goes because he is a heck of an athlete at that position and we'll see where it goes from there," Eberflus said of Leatherwood.

Safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion) and cornerback Kyler Gordon (concussion) will also miss the game for the Bears. Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian was moved to injured reserve on Friday after opting for surgery to repair an oblique injury.

--Field Level Media

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