Injuries to Bears’ Harris, Wright might thin ranks
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com September 23, 2011 10:28PM
Jordy Nelson has gotten off to a fast start for the Packers. He leads the team with 161 receiving yards and has scored two touchdowns. | Jim Prisching~AP
Updated: November 25, 2011 12:20AM
Despite missing plenty of practice time, the Bears and Green Bay Packers are expected to field most of their key players for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.
For the Bears, running back Marion Barber, safety Chris Harris, guard Lance Louis, receiver Roy Williams and safety Major Wright practiced Friday, and they were listed as questionable (50-50 chance of playing) for the game. Except for Wright, all fully participated in the session.
“It’s feeling better than I thought it would. I thought it was going to take longer, but I’m doing better,” Louis said after practice. “I think I could play. But the coaches will decide.”
Veteran Chris Spencer will start at right guard if Louis can’t.
Wright suffered head and neck injuries when he tackled New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham last Sunday.
“I’m OK. I’m feeling good,” Wright said. “I’m just waiting on them to tell me if I’m ready to play. It’s up to the coaches and the training room. I can’t make that decision.”
His chances don’t seem as strong after he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday and was limited Friday. The starter at safety is up in the air because Harris also is questionable. But Harris is expected to be ready to return after missing last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.
Brandon Meriweather, then Craig Steltz would be next in line to play.
For the Packers, offensive tackle Chad Clifton (knee) didn’t practice Friday after fully participating Thursday. Linebacker Clay Matthews, defensive end Ryan Pickett, cornerback Tramon Williams and cornerback Charles Woodson were limited. But all of those key players were listed as probable, meaning it’s a virtual certainty that they will play.
Tight end Jermichael Finley also fully practiced and is probable.
The Packers offense has gotten off to a strong start. But Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings isn’t the team’s only weapon. Jordy Nelson actually leads the Packers with 161 receiving yards, and he has scored two touchdowns, the same as Jennings.
Not too far behind is Finley, who has eight catches for 121 yards, although no touchdowns.
“Jordy Nelson is just having more opportunities on Sundays,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s been a very consistent player for us for a number of years. He’s the same guy every day. He’s a consistent personality.
“He’s been getting off to a fine season.”
Last season, the former Kansas State star had a career-high 45 catches for 582 yards. But he proved to be a gamer, catching nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bears running back Matt Forte is second in yards from scrimmage with 324.
◆ Dane Sanzenbacher is the first undrafted rookie to have a reception in his NFL debut since Eric Smith in September 1997.
Contributing: Mark Potash