It’s been two months since Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) has played in an NFL contest. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, and practiced in full this afternoon.
“The big thing today is Lance had full participation,” coach Marc Trestman said after practice. “I’m very optimistic. Again, he practiced for three days. He’s been cleared by the doctors. We’ll see where he is Sunday morning. We’ll see how he feels, and where he’s at, but he’s been cleared.”
The Bears have officially listed him as questionable for the contest.
“We’ll list him as questionable up until game time,” said Trestman. “He’ll work out before the game and we’ll see where he’s at. But I wouldn’t want to say that he’s going to play, he’s going to start. I think that’s still 48 hours away. We began the week fully optimistic [and we’re] even more [optimistic] now since he’s been cleared by the doctors. But we’ll see where that goes on Sunday night.”
Trestman said the decision will ultimately be Briggs’ to make.
“I think that’s a big part of it,” he said. “I want him to feel good about it. Once you’re cleared by doctors, then part of it is, ‘How are you feeling? Is there any residual that have come up since we’ve traveled, and 48 hours away?’ So the trainers are a part of that evaluation and certainly the information he gives us, where he’s at mentally and emotionally, is a big part of it.”
Chicago’s defense has crumbled in Briggs’ absence, so the return of a seven-time Pro Bowler should be a big boost.
“I think No. 1 he’s an emotional leader,” said Trestman. “He’s a tremendous football player. He’s been out of it for a while. There may be some rust, there may not be. We’ll see how it goes. That’s not the important thing. The important thing is he’s going to impact our team in the huddle. He’s a fiery leader. He’s a great leader. And he’s excited to play football again.
“Hopefully it’ll work out where he can get some reps. How many? I don’t know. But if he’s up and he’s ready to go, he’ll certainly play and then we’ll take it from there. We have no expectations. We just don’t know. We’ll see how it goes if and when he plays.”
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.