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Bears DT Nate Collins upbeat despite injury

Updated: December 12, 2013 11:29PM

Defensive tackle Nate Collins got chills Monday during the drive from the team hotel to Soldier Field — and he wasn’t even playing.

“It’s actually been a good experience for me,” Collins said. “It’s making me love the game that much more.”

Collins tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Oct. 6 against the Saints, had surgery a week later and has been rehabbing ever since.

“I just feel confident that I’m gonna be ready,” he said, ‘‘that I’m not gonna miss anything too major when it comes to training camp and being ready for next season.”

Collins is a free agent at the end of the season.

He said he’ll rehab with the Bears until “the last possible day” he’s allowed before free agency.

“And then after that, wait for everything to get worked out,” he said. “See what the team wants to do and go from there.”

Urlacher: Start McCown

Josh McCown should start at quarterback instead of Jay Cutler, former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said on “Fox Football Daily.”

“Even if Jay Cutler’s healthy, you can’t take a guy who’s this hot out of the football game,” he said Tuesday. ‘‘If I was on that team, I would have a hard time with them taking him out.”

This and that

Had the Bears practiced, linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) would not have participated and Cutler (ankle) would have been limited, the team said.

Browns running back Willis McGahee (concussion) and offensive linemen Reid Fragel (illness) and John Greco (knee) were out Wednesday. Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas (back), quarterback Brandon Weeden (knee/concussion) and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (ankle) were limited.

◆ Cornerback Charles Tillman is wearing a brace on his right elbow to stabilize his triceps muscle. On injured reserve with a designation to return, Tillman can return to practice Monday but can’t play in a game unless the Bears make the playoffs.

◆ Cornerback Sherrick McManis had his best game Monday with three special-teams tackles, special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said.


Twitter: @patrickfinley

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