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Bears’ Jay Cutler hopes for early return

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, expected to be out at least three more weeks with a torn groin muscle, said he is feeling better and is optimistic he could return sooner. But he otherwise shed little light on his injury or the rehabilitation when meeting with reporters Tuesday at Halas Hall.

Cutler suffered the injury in the first half of the Bears’ 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins on Oct. 20 in Landover, Md. At the time, the Bears said he would miss four weeks and then would be evaluated week-to-week before returning.

‘‘I feel better. Day by day,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m just doing what the doctors and trainers tell me. I’ll push it as much as I can. Whenever they give me the green light, we’re going to go in there rockin’ and you can’t look back. Whenever that happens, you’ll see me out there.’’

But while Cutler said he isn’t necessarily going to rush back, he also said the fact that he’s going to be a free agent at the end of the season will not make him any more cautious than he otherwise might be.

‘‘I’m not going to [think about the long term],’’ he said. ‘‘Each game is valuable — especially the second half of the season. So the sooner I can get back, the better I’m going to feel helping these guys out.’’

But he gave few details on his rehabilitation. Asked if he is feeling pain even walking right now, Cutler said, ‘‘I feel good. I’m not going to get into where we’re at. But we’re getting better and better.’’

Though he wants to return as soon as possible, he is confident that backup Josh McCown can hold the fort in his absence.

‘‘Josh is going to do a good job,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘We’ve got a good game plan going. The coaches have done a great job all year of protecting guys at the quarterback position. Josh fared well against [the Redskins]. And he’ll play well this week as well.’’

Bears coach Marc Trestman reiterated that Cutler’s original prognosis of a four-week absence remains until further notice.

‘‘I don’t decide when Jay comes back or when any player comes back,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘The doctors make that decision. What I was doing was reiterating the prognosis of the doctors.

“They’re not always right. It could happen faster. Jay’s optimistic; we all are. But I’m not saying we’re not bringing Jay back for four weeks. That’s what the doctors have said and we’ll work off that timeline. If it happens quicker, that’d be great.”



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