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Bears QBs Fields, Dalton return to practice

Bears QBs Justin Fields & Andy Dalton in action.

After sitting out last Sunday's game in Seattle with injuries, the Bears' top two quarterbacks returned to practice Wednesday—starter Justin Fields (ankle) was limited, while backup Andy Dalton (groin) was a full participant.

It's unclear at this time whether Fields, Dalton or third-stringer Nick Foles—who led the Bears to a 25-24 comeback win over the Seahawks in his first action of the season—will start Sunday's home finale against the Giants.

"[Fields and Dalton] are still both working through where they're at," said coach Matt Nagy. "Health will always dictate where they're at and how they go, so we'll monitor that. They are both improving, which is good. And then it's also nice having Nick, who's fully healthy after the game as well. So, we'll work through that all week long."

As was the case last week, the status of the three quarterbacks will be reassessed following practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Medical is going to take over this thing and it's going to dictate where they're at, and then the trust in knowing where they say they're at," Nagy said. "We've got to work through each day when they're out there with their pain level and where they're at, and then we just go off of that."

Foles didn't learn that he was going to start against the Seahawks until last Friday, a little more than 48 hours before kickoff. The same scenario could be repeated this week as Fields and Dalton test their injuries in practice.

"Similar to last week, we've got to, at some point as we go through this, figure out who [the starter] is going to be," Nagy said. "But we need a little bit of time, and then for them to get out there, too, and see what they can and can't do. Once we know that, it'll help us out with distributing the [practice] reps to the quarterbacks.

"I think we all saw what Nick was able to do last week with limited reps, winning the football game. That's the luxury we have of having him with the depth we have. So, we'll kind of work through that and see. Again, it's going to come down to Justin and Andy explaining to us how they feel."

Nagy knows that Fields wants to start Sunday's game against the Giants and no doubt will benefit from the experience. But the rookie quarterback won't return to action without being deemed healthy enough to play.

"The thing with Justin is he's super tough, so we have to balance that," Nagy said. "We've got to make sure that he doesn't hurt himself because he's trying to tough-through something. But he's also smart, too, and he gets it that we have his best interest [at heart].

"He wants to be out there. He wants to be out there for his teammates. He wants to be out there to be able to help every way he can to help us continue to finish the season strong. Getting those reps has been really good for him, which I think is great. He's grown in a lot of different ways. Every rep he can get at this point, with how it has gone on and this season, will be valuable for him for the rest of his career, different experiences you get. But we want him to be extremely healthy …"

Early last week the Bears had hoped Fields would be able to start against the Seahawks, but that goal became more unrealistic as the days went by.

"Sometimes you feel like you can do things [in practice] and then you get out there and your body just doesn't allow you to," Nagy said. "I think that's probably what he went through. This week will be a true test as well as to the significance of the pain, where he's at medically, and then where we're at as far as for him being able to get the practice reps. You just kind of combine all three of those together."

The Bears spent a chilly afternoon on the practice fields at Halas Hall as they prepare to host the Giants at Soldier Field.

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