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Bears Bulletin

Fields remains day-to-day, could start vs. Jets

Bears quarterback Justin Fields
Bears quarterback Justin Fields

Coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that Justin Fields remains day-to-day with a left shoulder injury and that the quarterback would have been limited in practice had the Bears conducted a full workout.

Having played physical games of late, Eberflus switched up this week's practice schedule, holding a walkthrough Wednesday.

"That's where he is right now and again we'll assess that as we go through the week," Eberflus said. "He's feeling pretty good and we'll see where it goes from there."

The rest of the week will consist of a shortened Thanksgiving Day practice and a regular Friday workout in advance of Sunday's road game against the Jets. Eberflus said that the Bears will continue to monitor how Fields is "feeling when he's moving, when he's throwing, when he's just going about his business of operating as a quarterback."

"We'll see where it goes," Eberflus said. "We'll see tomorrow. It will be more of a faster pace. We'll see when he's moving full speed during that time, during the drill work and stuff like that."

Fields was injured on the first play of the Bears' final possession of last Sunday's loss to the Falcons when he landed hard on his non-throwing shoulder after being tackled on a 1-yard run.

There have been conflicting media reports about the exact nature of his shoulder injury, but Eberflus declined to provide details.

"I'm not going to talk to specifics, but again, he was cleared in a limited fashion today," said the Bears coach.

Eberflus said that Fields will not be placed on injured reserve. More will be known about his availability for Sunday's game against the Jets as the week progresses.

"We'll see where it goes today," Eberflus said. "We'll see where it goes, and then when we get to tomorrow we'll know more, and I think by Friday we'll know [even] more. It's kind of one of those things; you work through the week and we'll see where it is and hopefully we're getting better and better every single day."

Asked if the Bears would consider resting Fields Sunday, Eberflus said: "I would just say that if he's ready to play, he's going to play. He feels that way, we feel that way. If he's ready to go, feels good about it, he's going to play the game.

"Really the reason is because we're trying to win. We want to win the game. There's a lot of great things to getting the experience of playing a game, every game we can. That's an important part to this season."

The Jets boast one of the NFL's top defenses, ranking eighth in points, ninth in yards and fifth in sacks per pass. But that won't deter the Bears from playing Fields if he's cleared.

"They obviously have a really good defense," Eberflus said. "A very good front. Their linebacker group is really good. They are really good in the secondary. They are in the top 10 in a lot of categories on defense. [But] if he's ready, he's ready. That's not going to factor into it."

If Fields is unable to play, veteran backup Trevor Siemian would make his first start of the season.

Siemian signed with the Bears March 29. He arrived having appeared in 33 NFL games with 29 starts over six seasons with the Broncos (2015-17), Vikings (2018), Jets (2019), Titans (2020) and Saints (2020-21), completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 6,843 yards with 41 touchdowns, 27 interceptions and an 81.2 passer rating.

Siemian has played in just one game this season, completing his only pass attempt for five yards late in a 49-29 loss to the Cowboys. In the preseason, he connected on 20 of 36 passes for 191 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 98.3 rating.

Determining whether Fields will be able to play against the Jets is a group effort that involves multiple layers. Eberflus, general manager Ryan Poles, head athletic trainer Andre Tucker and team doctors are all involved.

"There's stages to it," Eberflus said. "The medical staff has to clear him first, the player has to go function in practice. He has to feel good about his performance and being able to function out there to be able to operate. And the last hurdle is coaches have to look at it and say, 'yes, he is functioning at a winning rate to be able to function in a game.'"

Eberflus was asked what transpires if he and Poles don't agree about whether Fields should play.

"There's a big argument then," the coach joked. "No, I would say really we have disagreements like that sometimes and we would just have to put our heads together and make a common-sense decision."

Eberflus added that "if we ever feel that a player is going to go out there and harm himself, obviously we're going to err on the side of caution, for sure. We're not going to put a guy out there in harm's way and he doesn't feel good about it, for sure. We want to do what's best for the organization but also what's best for the player."

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