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Will Matt Forte play Monday? It’s questionable

Bears runningback Matt Forte patrols sidelines during Chicago Bears 23-6 victory over St. Louis Rams Sunday September 23 2012 Soldier

Bears runningback Matt Forte patrols the sidelines during the Chicago Bears 23-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams Sunday September 23, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: November 1, 2012 6:49AM



To no one’s surprise, Bears coach Lovie Smith played it coy when asked about Matt Forte’s status for Monday night’s game against the Cowboys.

‘‘He’s questionable for the game,’’ Smith said after the Bears practiced Saturday at Halas Hall.

But did he practice?

‘‘He’s questionable for the game,’’ Smith said. ‘‘On this day, we [announce] out, questionable and all those good things. He’s questionable for the game. Making progress.’’

Forte, who suffered a sprained ankle against the Packers on Sept. 13, did not play last week against the Rams. He practiced on a limited basis earlier this week.

Bears running backs coach Tim Spencer sounded a little more hopeful. But that doesn’t always mean much.

‘‘Matt looks good,’’ Spencer said. ‘‘Matt does everything he’s supposed to do to try and get ready. He looks good to me.’’

Elsewhere on the injury front, wide receiver Earl Bennett (hand) is questionable. Rookie fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee) is out.

Cowboys hurting

Cowboys starting defensive tackle Kenyon Coleman (knee) and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle) are out. Center Phil Costa (back), backup linebacker Alex Albright (neck) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) also are out.

Punter Chris Jones (left knee) is doubtbul. Linebacker Anthony Spencer (shoulder) is questionable.

Brandon & Brandon

Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall had five receptions for 103 yards against the Cowboys with the Dolphins last year, including a 35-yard touchdown from Matt Moore. The Dolphins lost 20-19 when Dan Bailey kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired.

The Cowboys, though, have upgraded their cornerbacks. With the addition of free agent Brandon Carr from the Chiefs and rookie Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in the draft, the Cowboys are No. 2 in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 137 yards per game. (They were 23rd last year, allowing 244 yards per game.) The Cowboys have allowed two passing touchdowns this season, both to tight ends.

Marshall had eight receptions for 106 yards and a 14-yard touchdown against Carr, Brandon Flowers and the Chiefs in a 31-3 Dolphins victory.

‘‘Coach [Rob] Ryan has those guys playing well,’’ Marshall said. ‘‘They’ve got some young corners that play well. They’re a little banged up, but with that scheme he has, he really puts guys in position to make plays.’’

Bush ready to go

Michael Bush, who suffered a shoulder injury against the Rams, said he is ‘‘fine’’ for Monday night’s game against the Cowboys and would start if Forte can’t play.

‘‘I think Matt will be up this week,’’ Bush said. ‘‘I’m still learning and making sure I’m ready in case he’s not.’’

Bush rushed for 55 yards and a three-yard touchdown on 19 carries against the Rams. But the Cowboys have the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL through three games.

“It’s a big test,’’ Bush said. ‘‘They’ve got great corners. Their outside linebackers [DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer] are good. It’s just a solid defense. It’s one of those games [where] if you’re not ready, you’re going to get your butt kicked.’’



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