Maybe steps: Bears QB Jay Cutler closer to return
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com November 23, 2012 9:33PM
After abruptly leaving the team, guard Chilo Rachal returned to the Bears but is ineligible to play. | Getty Images
Updated: December 25, 2012 6:23AM
One more step to go, and if all goes well, quarterback Jay Cutler can play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Cutler practiced again Friday — doing more than he did the day before — as he continues to make his way back from his concussion.
He’s officially listed as questionable on the Bears’ injury report but will meet with an independent neurologist Saturday. If he’s cleared, he can play.
Coach Lovie Smith seemed encouraged by Cutler’s progress.
“He’s getting better,” Smith said. “He was able to do more [Friday] than he did yesterday. He’s looking good.
“It’s looking better. The last phase of his evaluation will be [Saturday], then we’ll be able to let you know more from there.”
Cutler, who suffered the concussion Nov. 11 against the Houston Texans, returned to practice Thursday after not making the trip to San Francisco for the Monday night game and missing all of last week’s practices and meetings.
“He looked good,” running back Matt Forte said after practice. “He should play, I think.”
The Bears might be disappointed in left guard Chilo Rachal because he abruptly left the team after being demoted.
But they also believe it’s important for Rachal to get his personal life in order before he returns to football — which may or may not be with the Bears.
‘’I don’t really want to comment on how he handled things because that’s a personal matter with things he’s got going on in his life,’’ Bears offensive line coach Tim Holt said. ‘’The thing that gets lost in what happened the last couple of days is how hard he worked. Everybody has things that come up in their lives. They face adversity. You think you handle things and sometimes ... it’s all how you handle the adversity.”
Rachal has returned but is ineligible to play for the Bears for the rest of the season after being put on the reserve/non-football-injury list.
‘’Chilo’s a tremendous young man,” Holt said. “I think right now he needs [privacy]. I understand people want to know [what happened], but just kind of let him deal with his personal business. Obviously, you hate to see something happen like that, but everybody handles things a little bit differently.’’
Defensive end Shea McClellin (concussion) is listed as probable and is expected to be back in the Bears’ defensive-line rotation after sitting out last week.
“He’s been able to do everything,” Smith said.
◆ In other injury news, starting tight end Kellen Davis is questionable with an ankle injury. Davis was limited in practice after sitting out the previous two days.
Quarterback Jason Campbell (ribs), receiver Brandon Marshall (shoulder) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (shoulder) fully practiced after being limited Thursday. They should all be active.
◆ The Vikings will be without standout receiver Percy Harvin, who’s doubtful with an ankle injury. Harvin leads the Vikings with 67 catches for 677 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also their top kick returner, averaging 35.9 yards.
Contributing: Mark Potash