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Bears think Jay Cutler might be back sooner than expected

Updated: October 29, 2013 11:15PM

On the day Bulls star Derrick Rose returned from the most analyzed rehabilitation in Chicago sports history, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s recovery from a torn groin muscle fittingly took center stage in all its murkiness Tuesday at Halas Hall.

The highlight was coach Marc Trestman being asked whether Cutler was definitely out for the Bears’ road game Monday against the Green Bay Packers and not saying he was. When Cutler suffered the injury last week against the Washington Redskins, he was expected to miss ‘‘at least’’ four weeks.

‘‘You never want to say never,’’ Trestman said with a smile. ‘‘I would say it’s highly unlikely that Jay will be playing on Monday night, but I would not want to make it 100 percent at this point in time. There’s a lot of time before the game, but it’s highly unlikely.’’

Assuming Trestman only was allowing for some kind of miracle, Cutler won’t play against the Packers at Lambeau Field. But how long he’ll be out is anyone’s guess. Tea leaves, anyone?

For what it’s worth, Cutler said Tuesday he feels good and is optimistic he can beat the four-week timetable set by team doctors last week.

‘‘I feel better day by day,’’ Cutler told the media after watching his teammates practice. ‘‘I’ll push it as much as I can. I’m just doing what the doctors and trainers tell me. When they say you can go, you go.’’

That Cutler was even at practice was considered a good sign. Not only that, but he was moving around freely and catching passes from the other quarterbacks. He extended his arms to reach some of them and showed no discernible discomfort.

That’s not much to go on, but it’s about all we have. Groin injuries are hard to define, though it doesn’t stop us from trying. And the Bears, going by what their doctors have told them, purposely have left Cutler’s return open-ended. Cutler divulged few details about his rehabilitation that might provide further clues as to the timing of his return.

‘‘I’m not going to get into the specifics of what we’re doing,’’ he said.

Asked if he was feeling pain even walking, Cutler was guarded.

‘‘I feel good,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not going to get into where we’re at, but we’re getting better and better.’’

Receiver Brandon Marshall’s prediction that Cutler would return in two weeks sounded far-fetched when he said it on ‘‘Andrea Mitchell Reports’’ on MSNBC. But while that might have been a case of Brandon being Brandon, the Bears aren’t totally discounting it.

‘‘He’s optimistic, and so am I,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘We’ll see how it goes.’’

True to his nature, Cutler will return as soon as he’s ready. That he will be a free agent after this season is of no concern to him, he said.

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

‘‘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.’’

In other words, we’ll see him when we see him. But just that he was there to tell us that Tuesday was promising.

The last time he was out for an extended period of time — the broken right thumb in 2011 — we didn’t talk with him for six months. This time, it took only nine days. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that is a good sign with Cutler.


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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