Injured Bears get healthy for opener
BY MARK POTASH September 6, 2013 4:08PM
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Updated: September 6, 2013 11:45PM
Bears coach Marc Trestman said linebacker D.J. Williams, wide receiver Earl Bennett and defensive tackle Henry Melton — all of whom missed significant time during the preseason because of injuries — will play in the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Soldier Field.
‘‘I’m not ready to make a commitment there to who will be the first linebacker or the first third wide receiver to go out on the field,’’ Trestman said after the Bears practiced indoors at the Walter Payton center. ‘‘But we’ll certainly know at the end of the day. I just want to talk to our coaches one more time about that.’’
The biggest question is whether Williams will start ahead of rookie Jon Bostic at middle linebacker. With Williams recovering from a calf injury, Bostic played the entire preseason. Williams returned to practice this week and could start.
Even if he does, it’s almost certain that Bostic will play in the middle at some point, because Williams’ conditioning will be tested in his first game with the Bears.
‘‘I think he’s in good condition. I don’t know that he’s in great condition,’’ Trestman said of Williams. ‘‘I don’t know that we’ll know until we see whether or not he can take a significant amount of action.
‘‘I don’t know whether he will or not. We’ll see how things go on Sunday. I believe he’ll play. How much he plays will be relative to really game-like conditions where it’s truly physical out there and we’re running from sideline to sideline.’’
Bennett is pretty much in the same situation as Williams.
‘‘I think Earl will play in this game. I don’t know how much but he’ll play,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘And he’ll certainly continue to play more as he works himself into things. But how much he plays will just be relative to kind of how he feels out there and what his conditioning is. He’s very confident he can go the distance. We’ll watch him closely.’’