Bears quarterback Jay Cutler sat out practice Friday for a third straight day and was listed as doubtful for Sunday night's road game against the Dallas Cowboys.
The term "doubtful" previously meant that an individual had a 25 percent chance of playing. But under new guidelines instituted this year, it means only that the player is "unlikely to play."
So with Cutler unlikely to play, it appears that backup Brian Hoyer could make his first start of the season. He signed with the Bears April 30 after spending his first eight NFL seasons appearing in 43 games with 26 starts with the Patriots (2009-11), Cardinals (2012), Browns (2013-14) and Texans (2015), passing for 7,163 yards with 38 touchdowns, 26 interceptions and an 82.2 passer rating.
Jay Cutler sat out practice Friday for a third straight day and was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.
After Cutler exited last Monday night's game against the Eagles late in the third quarter, Hoyer entered in relief and completed 9 of 12 passes for 78 yards and a 91.7 rating.
Receiver Alshon Jeffery, who sat out practice Thursday with a knee injury he sustained against the Eagles, was limited Friday. Coach John Fox revealed that Jeffery looked good, saying: "He was dealing with some soreness and we held him out just to help get him ready for Sunday."
"Questionable" on the injury report now means only that it's uncertain whether a player will play.
Inside linebacker Danny Trevathan has been ruled out of Sunday night's game after undergoing surgery to reattach a ligament in his thumb, Fox said. Backups at inside linebacker include Jonathan Anderson, Christian Jones and rookie fourth-round pick Nick Kwiatkoski.
With Trevathan out, the Bears will rely more than usual on veteran inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman for leadership and guidance.
"Whoever winds up lining up next to him, he may have to talk to those guys a little bit more," said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. "They have to get the feel about how they're going to pass crossers and stay locked on and where they're going to be in certain coverages. So you get a little bit of familiarity with one guy and then it can chance a little bit with another."
Other Bears who are doubtful for Sunday night's game, like Cutler, include starting nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) and backup running back Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring).
Will Sutton, a 2014 third-round pick from Arizona State, is listed second on the depth chart behind Goldman. But Sutton is questionable with an elbow injury.
"I've seen tremendous growth in the time I've been here," Fox said. "I can only speak to the time I've been here. He's got a good football IQ, likes to play the game, is a good teammate. He's got a low center of gravity, he's got good quickness and explosion."
Other Bears listed as questionable are outside linebacker Willie Young (knee), safeties Adrian Amos (concussion) and Chris Prosinski (calf), nickel back Bryce Callahan (concussion), cornerbacks Kyle Fuller (knee) and Tracy Porter (knee), tackle Bobby Massie (toe) and guard Josh Sitton (shoulder).