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Fuller participates in first practice

Posted Nov 30, 2016

Designated to return from injured reserve, Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August.

Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August.

Kyle Fuller
Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in August.

The 2014 first-round pick missed the first three games of the season before being placed on IR Sept. 28. In designating him to return from injured reserve Wednesday, the Bears now have 21 days to add him to their 53-man roster.

While Fuller participated in individual, scout team and team drills Wednesday, it's unclear how long it will take him to be ready to play in a game.

"That's hard to predict with any injury," said coach John Fox. "I was encouraged by what I saw today. We're not going to put him out there if he's not healthy enough to at least practice. He's been around, so it's not like he's been away and not with us, not in meetings, not paying attention to what we're doing. We'll have to see one day at a time and we'll see how the week progresses."

Fuller played in 30 of 32 games during his first two seasons with the Bears after being selected with the 14th pick in the 2014 draft out of Virginia Tech. He has recorded 129 tackles, six interceptions, 24 pass breakups, three tackles-for-loss and three forced fumbles. Fuller led the Bears with two interceptions last season after tying for the team lead with four in 2014.

Asked what he hopes to see from Fuller, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said: "Just that he's out there moving well and looks like he can play NFL corner, which is a very hard position to play from a movement standpoint. I think tomorrow will be an important day to see how he feels. Sometimes guys come back and the next day is more telling than today, so we'll see."

Wait 'til next year: Because NFL teams can only designate one player to return from injured reserve, Wednesday's move with Fuller means that receiver Kevin White will not play again this year.

After missing his entire rookie season with a stress fracture in his shin last year, the 2015 first-round pick from West Virginia played in the first four games this season before suffering a fractured fibula and high ankle sprain in a win over the Lions.

Given the nature of White's injury, his chances of returning late in the season were minimal at best.

"We kind of anticipated that a little bit when we saw the severity of his ankle injury with the fibula and the surgery and we weren't real optimistic that he'd make it back," Fox said. "Obviously we thought pretty highly of him to take him where we did. We've just got to get him healthy. That's going to be the big part going forward."

Audition time: The Bears are interested to see how rookie receiver Daniel Braverman performs, though it's not a slam dunk that he'll be active Sunday against the 49ers. The seventh-round pick from Western Michigan was promoted to the 53-man roster Tuesday after spending the first 12 weeks of the season on the practice squad.

"We'll look at him this week in practice," Fox said. "We'll see what the number count looks like going into the game Sunday. We make those decisions basically an hour-and-a-half before kickoff."

With Braverman's addition, the Bears now have all nine of their 2016 draft picks on their 53-man roster. Asked if he wondered whether he would ever join the others, he said: "Of course you think about it. You want to play football. But I really wasn't worried about that. I was worried about the process of getting better."

Asked what he has worked on, Braverman said: "Route-stems. Catching. Hands. Using your eyes. Using your hands to swipe down. Every aspect of receiver play I was drilled by the coaches."

Injury update: Quarterback Jay Cutler (shoulder), receiver Eddie Royal (toe) and safety Adrian Amos (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Bears who were limited were outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (concussion), cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Deiondre Hall (ankle), left guard Josh Sitton (ankle) and defensive lineman Mitch Unrein (back).