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LAKE FOREST — The verdict is still out on Justin Fields and his dislocated right thumb.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus provided an update on the injury Fields sustained in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday, but not much has changed.
“It still comes down to the grip strength, where he is later in the week,” Eberflus said. “We’ll see. Right now he’s working with the trainers and that’s progressing well. We’ll see where it is. We still think he’s doubtful for this week.”
Eberflus was asked whether surgery was on the table if the grip strength didn’t improve. The Bears’ coach said the team will have some clarity later in the week and that “nothing’s off the table, nothing’s on the table right now.”
One positive that Eberflus mentioned was that the swelling has gone down some in Fields’ right thumb.
But is this an injury that Fields can play with if it’s simply taped up?
“That’s where it is … other people that have had this injury, it’s gone that way where they’ve taped it and gone through it and they’ve played, and it’s been a week to week thing, and then all the way to having surgery and them being out,” Eberflus said. “We don’t know where it is yet. We’ll figure it out later in the week.”
Eberflus wouldn’t say there is hope Fields can play against the Raiders, but he did mention the team is “optimistic where it is, but we don’t know.” If Fields is unable to go, Tyson Bagent will be making his first start of his NFL career on Sunday against Las Vegas.
Changes coming to the offensive line?
During Eberflus’ opening statement, he made it clear about his stance on the Bears’ offensive line.
“Relative to the offensive line combinations and questions on that, I’m not going to answer the combinations there right now because we’re working through those things right now,” Eberflus said. “We certainly like, by force many times, to have those different combinations because of training camp and various injuries that we’ve had, of course, during the course of the year. That of course gives us some flexibility to put guys inside — guard center, center guard — and at the tackle position. That’s where it is. We’re going to finalize that later in the week of course.”
Against the Vikings, Nate Davis went down in the first quarter with what ended up being a high ankle sprain. Eberflus said Davis is “not likely to play this week” and that he’ll be week to week.
Cody Whitehair also was replaced late in the third quarter by Lucas Patrick. Throughout the game, Whitehair’s snaps were inconsistent, which threw of the timing of the plays and forced Fields to adjust based on the snap’s trajectory.
Eberflus was asked Whitehair has had errant snaps in practice or if it’s just showing up in games.
“It’s been a little bit during practice, some,” Eberflus said. “But again that’s always an issue when you work through and change positions. I think that when you have that, but again, it’s not been like it’s been glaring. There’s been some of it. But again we’ve corrected it, made those adjustments. It’s got to be better than what it was on Sunday.”
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