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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
PlayerInjuryGame status
PRO CAREER:


Entering his third season with the Bears in 2022; selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft (50th overall) by the Bears
Has started in all 28 games of his career, owning 90 tackles (71 solo), 24 PDs and 1 INT


2021 SEASON (Bears):


Started in 15 games, only missing two due to COVID-19
Finished the season with 46 tackles (37 solo) and nine PDs
Registered five tackles (three solo) and recorded a PD in the Bears season-opener against the Rams
Snagged his first career INT in the fourth quarter of the Week 2 win over the Bengals
Logged three solo tackles at the Browns in Week 3
Recorded two tackles to contribute to the Bears Week 5 win at the Raiders
Registered three tackles in Week 6 vs. the Packers
Recorded a team-high and season-high six tackles (five solo) and forced his first career fumble in the Week 12 victory at the Lions


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; also broke up a Matthew Stafford pass in the end zone on the final play to help secure the victory
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 Sr. INT and set up Chicago's first touchdown
Logged five tackles his second most of the season in Week 10 and added one PD
Jaylon Johnson
ShoulderOut
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 and started in all 17 games of the 2021 season
Has 855 career receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns to his credit


2021 SEASON (Bears):


Started in all 17 games of the 2021 season
Surpassed 500 receiving yards on the season in Week 16 at Seattle, Trey Burton was Chicago's most recent tight end to surpass the 500-yard mark, doing so in 2018 with 569 receiving yards on 54 receptions
His 612 receiving yards on the season were the second-highest on the team
Recorded five receptions for 42 yards vs. the Rams
Logged two receptions for 22 yards in the Week 5 win at the Raiders
Recorded 49 all-purpose yards in Week 6 vs. the Packers
Caught five passes for 43 yards, including in a 22-yard reception, his second-longest to date, in Week 7 at Tampa Bay
Logged a career-high 87 yards on six receptions (14.5 avg.) Week 9 at the Steelers
Caught eight passes for 65 yards during the Week 12 win at the Lions, his second-highest receiving total of his career, trailing only an 87-yard performance at Pittsburgh (Nov. 8)
Hauled in three receptions for 17 yards Week 14 at the Packers
Caught six passes for a team-high 71 receiving yards in Week 15 vs. the Vikings
Surpassed 500 receiving yards on the season in the Week 16 win at Seattle with four catches for 49 yards (12.3 avg.)
Hauled in four receptions for 48 yards (12.0 avg.) in the Bears final game at Minnesota in Week 18


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
ShoulderQuestionable

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