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Injury Update: Who's in, who's out for Packers game

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The Bears will once again be shorthanded in their secondary in Sunday's crucial regular-season finale against the Packers at Soldier Field.

Nickel back Buster Skrine will sit out his fourth straight game with a concussion and starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson will be sidelined for the third consecutive contest with a shoulder injury.

In keeping with their next-man-up mentality, the Bears have relied on young replacements Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor to step in and contribute at nickel back and cornerback, respectively.

"They've done an excellent job," said defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend. "They get in there competing. They tackle well. They challenge in the pass game. That's all you can ask for."

Shelley has played 80, 97 and 80 percent of the defense's snaps in the last three games, registering 13 tackles and one pass breakup. In a 33-27 win over the Vikings Dec. 20 in Minneapolis, the 2019 sixth-round pick from Kansas State made two huge tackles one yard short of a first down on drives that ended with Minnesota turning the ball over on downs.

"It's been exciting and it's great for him to get that opportunity and play ball," said veteran defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. "One of my favorite plays so far from him was when he smacked one quarterback. Was it Mike Glennon? He smacked somebody and knocked the taste out of his mouth.

"I'm excited for young guys to get the opportunity to get out here and play some good football and contribute to this team. That's what they work for all year—that moment when they get called up. And so you wish them the best and you want them to play well and fit into your defense."

Vildor, a rookie fifth-round pick from Georgia Southern, has played 44 and 100 percent of the defense's snaps the past two weeks, recording 11 tackles.

The Bears won't be surprised if savvy Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers targets the inexperienced cornerback early and often Sunday.

"[Vildor] is well aware of who we're going against," said coach Matt Nagy. "There's going to be plays made by those guys and, like we said yesterday, you've got to be able to regroup and you go make a play now."

Five other Bears players are listed as questionable for Sunday's game: Return specialist/receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. (neck) practiced without restrictions Friday, while tight ends Cole Kmet (shoulder) and Demetrius Harris (foot) and safety Deon Bush (foot) were limited.

Receiver Allen Robinson II (hamstring), outside linebacker Khalil Mack (shoulder) and Shelley (knee) were also limited in practice Friday, but they were not assigned an injury designation, meaning that they're expected to play.

The Packers, meanwhile, are dealing with the sudden and surprising loss of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari, who tore his ACL in practice Thursday.

Asked how Bakhtiari's absence would impact the Packers, Hicks declined to speculate.

"To be respectful to what he's going through right now, I'd rather not talk about his injury, but I will say you feel for a guy," Hicks said. "You know sometimes the game isn't fair. Sometimes you put all your work in and you try as hard as you can and you get an unfortunate situation. So with respect to him, I wish him well. But I'd rather not talk about how he's hurt."

Also for the Packers, starting defensive end Kingsley Keke (concussion) has been ruled out of Sunday's game, while reserve guard Simon Stepaniak (knee) is questionable after practicing without restrictions all week.

Chicago Bears
Table - Injury report
Player Injury Game status
PRO CAREER:


Finished his fifth NFL season in 2020; has appeared in 65 games with eight starts for the Bears
Owns 37 tackles, 1 INT, 1.0 sack, 5 PDs and 12 special teams tackles


*2020 SEASON (Bears): *


Recorded his first career interception in the Week 2 win over the Giants, stepping in front of a Daniel Jones pass and returning it 10 yards
Inactive for Weeks 5-6 with a hamstring injury; also Weeks 15 and 17 with a foot injury
Missed Week 9 at Tennessee after being placed on the COVID-19 list


*2019 SEASON (Bears): *


Appeared in 15 games as a reserve, recording six tackles, two pass defenses and three special teams tackles


*2018 SEASON (Bears): *


Appeared in 15 games (2 starts), recording six tackles, one sack, one TFL and one forced fumble
Made three tackles in Wild Card playoff game vs. Philadelphia (1/6/19)


*2017 SEASON (Bears): *


Appeared in 13 games as a reserve, recording three tackles and three special teams tackles


*2016 SEASON (Bears): *


Played in 11 games, starting six (Games 10-15), recording 22 tackles and, one pass breakup and one special teams tackle
Deon Bush
Foot Questionable
PRO CAREER:


Rookie defensive back in 2020; selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft (50th overall) by the Bears


2020 SEASON (Bears):


Started all but three games (Weeks 15-17) for the Bears at cornerback, missing the final three games and the Wild Card playoff game due to a shoulder injury
Despite missing the last three regular season games, Johnson still finished fourth in the NFC with 15 PDs; had five games with multiple PDs
His five PDs in his first two games were the second most by a rookie defender in their first two games since the league started tracking PDs in 1999 (Marcus Peters had seven through his first two games in 2015)
Started at cornerback Week 1 at Detroit, making him the first Bears rookie to start at corner on opening day since Walt Harris in 1996; became the first non-first round draft pick to start at corner for the Bears in the opener since Mike Richardson in 1983
Recorded three tackles and two PDs in the win at the Panthers; broke up a pass on Carolina's opening drive that led to a Tashaun Gipson INT and Chicago's first touchdown
Logged five tackles his second most of the season in Week 10 and added one PD
Jaylon Johnson
Shoulder Out
PRO CAREER:


Selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft (43rd overall) by the Bears; played in all 16 games as a rookie with nine starts


2020 SEASON (Bears):


Started nine of 16 games in his rookie season; had 28 catches for 243 yards and two TDs on the season
Caught 20 passes over the final five games of the regular season after catching only eight passes over the first 11 games 
Caught a season-high seven passes for 41 yards in Week 17 vs. the Packers
Made his first career catch in the Week 2 win vs. the Giants, a 12-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky
Hauled in his first touchdown catch in Week 6 at Carolina, a 9-yard pass from Nick Foles on Chicago's opening drive
Had two catches for 45 yards, including a season-long 38-yarder, in Week 7 at the Rams
Caught his second touchdown of the season in Week 13 vs. the Lions, an 11-yarder from Mitchell Trubisky; caught a career-high five passes for 37 yards in that game 
Caught four passes for 41 yards (10.3 avg) in the Week 14 win over the Texans
Caught three passes for 16 yards in the Wild Card playoff game at the Saints
Cole Kmet
Shoulder Questionable

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