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Bell thankful to Bears for opportunity

One day after signing with the Bears, running back Joique Bell practiced with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday.

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Running back Joique Bell spent the last five seasons with the Lions.

Bell, who has been issued jersey number 43, spent the last five seasons with the Lions. He appeared in 60 games with 15 starts, rushing for 2,235 yards and 22 touchdowns on 561 carries and catching 161 passes for 1,640 yards and one TD. Bell had not been with a team since being released by Detroit in February.

"For me it was just about being patient and staying ready," Bell said. "I thank the Bears organization for bringing me in and giving me an opportunity."

Bell worked out for the Lions last week but was not signed. He's scheduled to face his former team Sunday at Soldier Field, though that's not his primary concern.

"We're just trying to get our first win," Bell said. "That's the most important thing to me right now is to come here and just do my part to help this franchise win."

Bell was signed by the Bears to bolster an injury depleted position. Jeremy Langford sprained his ankle last Sunday night against the Cowboys, while Ka'Deem Carey missed the game due to a hamstring injury. Langford and Carey both did not practice Wednesday.

Sick bay: Bears coach John Fox did not come into Halas Hall Wednesday due to a stomach bug. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio told reporters that he spoke to the team instead during a morning meeting and again at the end of practice.

After answering questions for more than 10 minutes about the Bears defense, Fangio was asked if he had an update to give on the health of quarterback Jay Cutler.

"No, I don't have an update to give you," Fangio said. "Want me to make one up?"

According to the official injury report, Cutler returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday after missing last Sunday night's loss to the Cowboys with a thumb injury. His status for Sunday's home game against the Lions is uncertain.

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Ready if needed:** Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer told reporters Wednesday that he always prepares as if he's going to start whether Cutler is injured or not.

"Until someone tells me different, I'm just preparing like I'm going to play and that's if he was playing I would prepare the same way," Hoyer said. "It was good to have him back out there and be out there. For me, it doesn't really change anything."

Starting in place of Cutler against the Cowboys, Hoyer completed 30 of 49 passes for 317 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 93.7 passer rating. The Bears were outscored 24-3 in the first half in an eventual 31-17 loss in Dallas.

"We kept battling," Hoyer said. "We moved the ball down the field a little bit. We've just got to keep executing a little bit better on third down and then when we get in the red area we can't really settle for field goals. We've got to score touchdowns."

Injury update: The Bears have 15 players on their injury report. In addition to Langford and Carey, nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb) and safety Harold Jones-Quartey (concussion) did not practice.

Others who were limited like Cutler included defensive end Jonathan Bullard (toe), inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman (ribs), receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee), guard Kyle Long (shoulder), cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (hamstring) and Tracy Porter (knee), guard Josh Sitton (shoulder), defensive tackle Mitch Unrein (knee) and outside linebacker Willie Young (knee).

Welcome back: The Bears on Wednesday re-signed linebacker Jonathan Anderson to their practice squad one day after he was waived from the team's 53-man roster.

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