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Bears’ Peanut Tillman injury lingers on

Updated: December 1, 2013 7:41AM



Asked how his knee was feeling Monday, Charles Tillman answered with a snarky smile.

“Good,” he said. “Better than yours.”

Which might be true if the Bears cornerback was at a dinner party with, say, Nate Collins, Henry Melton and 2012 Derrick Rose.

In reality, though, Tillman’s right knee has been trouble for six weeks.

He missed practice Monday — though he participated in some individual work — because of inflammation that’s dogged him since before Week 3.

He wasn’t ready to handicap his chances of playing Monday at ­Lambeau Field.

“We’ll see if the trainers clear me,” he said, “and we’ll see what happens.”

Tillman was inactive Week 6 against the Giants.

He’s missed 19 or more snaps in three of the past four games he played, and he didn’t finish his last game, in Washington, D.C.

Coach Marc Trestman sounded as if a return to practice Tuesday wasn’t in the cards, either.

Tillman is out officially with inflammation — “I guess; something like that,” the cornerback said Monday — but neither he nor the team has specified whether a ­distinct knee injury has caused it to be inflamed.

Simple inflammation might have cleared by now.

Trestman said 12 days ago ­Tillman was “not getting any worse.” Reminded of that Monday, the coach said he couldn’t say whether the injury regressed or simply hasn’t improved.

“I’m not trying to keep anything from you,” Trestman said. “He says he’s doing better, and we’re hopeful he’ll be able to practice this week as we move into the end of the week.”

The 32-year-old said his knee injury “stayed the same” rather than worsening but that the off week helped him.

“It’s a little frustrating,” he said, “but what it really needed was a ­little bit of time and rest. The bye week came at a perfect time.”

Tillman has had three interceptions — including one nine days ago against the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III — and forced two fumbles.

He had eight tackles against the Redskins in his first game back ­after being inactive for the first time since the last contest of the 2009 season.

“Just his ability to create turnovers — he’s a consistent corner,” safety Chris Conte said.

“Whenever you don’t have one of your best players on the field, it hurts the team.”

A healthy Tillman would do wonders for the Bears’ depleted defense.

“He says he feels better,” Trestman said. “So that’s the only ­answer I can give you.”

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley



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