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Bears expected to be shorthanded again

As has been the case most of the year, the Bears will enter Sunday's season finale against the Detroit Lions with a lengthy injury list.

Receiver Eddie Royal (illness) and center Hroniss Grasu (knee) did not practice Friday and are listed as doubtful, meaning there's only a 25 percent chance they'll play.

Ten other Bears are questionable (and have a 50/50 chance of playing): Safety Adrian Amos (shoulder), nickel back Bryce Callahan (quad), running back Matt Forte (back), defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins (ankle/illness) and Mitch Unrein (knee), linebacker Shea McClellin (concussion), outside linebackers Pernell McPhee (knee) and Willie Young (rib), tight end Zach Miller (toe) and cornerback Tracy Porter (ankle).


After signing with the Bears in March, receiver Eddie Royal has been limited to nine games.
Nine of the 10 players listed as questionable practiced on a limited basis Friday, with only Miller sitting out the team's final workout of the season.

Royal is expected to miss his seventh game of the season. He sat out five earlier contests with a knee injury and one with an ankle injury. In his first year with the Bears, he has caught 37 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown in nine games.

If Royal misses Sunday's finale, the Bears will line up without their top four receivers heading into training camp. Rookie Kevin White didn't play all season due to a stress fracture in his shin, while Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson are both on injured reserve.

The four receivers who are expected to be active Sunday against the Lions are Joshua Bellamy, Marc Mariani, Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson. Entering this season, they had combined to catch just 19 passes for 171 yards and no touchdowns in the NFL.

If Grasu is unable to play Sunday, veteran Matt Slauson would likely move from left guard to center as he has done on three previous occasions this year.  

Slauson first made the switch in Week 4 when Will Montgomery was injured early in a win over the Raiders. Slauson started three games in November at center after Grasu was injured in practice and then replaced the rookie for two series last Sunday in Tampa.

"Now that I've gotten a lot of snaps there this year, I am a lot more comfortable with that move," Slauson said earlier this week. "For example, [in Tampa], I hadn't taken a snap at center since the St. Louis game [Nov. 15], and as soon as that move happened, I didn't think twice about it. I wasn't stressed. I wasn't thinking about snaps or anything. It was just easy."

Though Grasu eventually returned to last Sunday's game, Slauson was able to make an immediate adjustment both physically and mentally.

"That was really the first time that I've had to switch in the middle of a game when I was just able to flip a switch," Slauson said. "I think it was the comfort level of getting four total games at it. So when I was able to move over there I just flipped a switch and I was in center mode, and that was the first time I've experienced that, so that was cool."

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