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Jay Cutler targeting Dec. 9 return vs. Cowboys

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Updated: December 27, 2013 6:29AM



Jay Cutler is planning a prime-time return from his high left ankle sprain.

He wants to come back Dec. 9 for a home “Monday Night Football” matchup against the Cowboys.

“If I’m not playing next week, I’ll be pretty disappointed,” he said Monday night on his weekly radio show.

Cutler had his cast removed last week, and it was replaced by a brace. He’s working to strengthen the injury he suffered Nov. 10 against the Lions. He hasn’t run full-speed.

“Just gotta strengthen that area back up,” he said. “Whenever you tear stuff in there, you’re going to lose a lot of strength. You’re going to lose a lot of mobility.”

Earlier Monday, coach Marc Trestman ruled Cutler out for the game Sunday at Minnesota. Cutler sounded surprised, saying, “Maybe [the Bears] will let me practice this week.”

Unlike one of Chicago’s other sports stars, Cutler isn’t out for the season.

“I’m totally confident he’ll play again this season,” Trestman said.

He stressed there’s “no underlying information here,” despite speculation that Cutler’s injury was more complicated than the team had revealed.

Cutler said his once-torn left groin felt good, and he sounded frustrated that he hasn’t been able to play.

“I hate the position I’m in right now,” Cutler said.

Forte hurt

Running back Matt Forte suffered a slight hyperextension of his right knee in the fourth quarter Sunday, Trestman said.

The Bears will re-evaluate Forte, who returned to the game, on Wednesday.

“We’re optimistic,” Trestman said. “You just have to see in these cases.”

Linebacker Lance Briggs, who’s running but hasn’t practiced since breaking his shoulder Oct. 20, won’t play against the Vikings, Trestman said.

The Bears will monitor defensive tackle Stephen Paea’s progress from a turf toe injury Wednesday. Jeremiah Ratliff will continue practicing and will be evaluated later this week.

This and that

The Bears won’t change their defensive starters, Trestman said.

† Trestman said the Bears’ penalties against the Rams were completely different than last week’s pre-snap errors, calling the ones against St. Louis “subjective.”

† The Bears will donate $210,194 to the Red Cross for tornado relief Tuesday; $32,857 came from an online auction of game-used gear and a box donated by the Rams.

† Buoyed by Bears fans, the Rams’ home crowd of 66,024 was their highest in seven years.

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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