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Jay Cutler practices in preparation for Lions

Chicago Bears quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh walks off field with Josh McCown (12) Jay Cutler (6) after practice Halas Hall

Chicago Bears quarterback coach Matt Cavanaugh walks off the field with Josh McCown (12) and Jay Cutler (6) after practice at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill., on Thursday, April 18, 2013. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 7, 2013 1:00PM

Jay Cutler is practicing at the Walter Payton Center on Thursday, an encouraging sign if the Bears quarterback is going to play Sunday against the Lions.

Cutler would not have practiced had he not been cleared by team doctors.

“I would want him to be cleared to practice and hopeful that by being cleared to practice, that he will play,” coach Marc Trestman said Wednesday. “Because we want to give him all the reps. We’d be hopeful that the clearance would be indicative that he’d be able to play.”

Trestman said Wednesday that two days of practice would likely be enough to catch him up to speed.

Cutler suffered a torn left groin Oct. 20 against the Redskins. His diagnosis was a minimum of one month off, though Cutler has recovered quicker.

Receiver Brandon Marshall always thought -- and said it a lot -- that Cutler could return against the Lions.

”You can’t replace Jay Cutler,” Marshall said. “In this game, sometimes you have to make plays when there aren’t plays out there, and Jay is one of the best at that. That’s what some of the great quarterbacks do, but they also stay within the offense. Also, Jay’s one of the smartest guys that’s in the NFL, and you can’t replace that either, and I think that comes easy for Jay, it’s natural.

“Josh [McCown] is also a guy, he’s a grinder. He’s one of the first guys here, he’s one of the last to leave. I think that’s a testament to his preparation and I think the results of his preparation show the past few games. Now, when it comes to Jay, he’s our leader, he’s our captain. How far Jay takes us, that’s how far we’re going to go.”

In the 15 minutes of practice open to the media, Cutler participated in stretches and quarterback drills, which included backpedaling, dropbacks and stepping up in the pocket.

He did not appear to be in pain, but moved somewhat gingerly, especially when shuffling forward in the pocket. He wore tights on both legs.

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