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Injury Update: Foles to start in place of injured Fields

Bears QB Justin Fields in action.

With rookie quarterback Justin Fields held out of practice Friday for a second straight day due to an ankle injury, Bears coach Matt Nagy announced that veteran Nick Foles will start Sunday in Seattle.

Fields sustained the injury in the second quarter of Monday night's loss to the Vikings. He finished the game but told reporters Wednesday that "it got worse after the game and the next morning." The first-round pick was limited in Wednesday's walk-through before sitting out Thursday and Friday.

"We're being smart," Nagy said. "We're just trying to get through and see exactly where the pain level is at and where he's at with that. We have our medical team on him and going."

Nagy said that it likely will be a game-time decision whether Fields has improved enough to serve as the Bears' No. 2 quarterback.

"His injury has not gotten worse from the beginning of the week," Nagy said. "It's getting better. But … like we always say, 'We're going to always make sure that the player's health is No. 1. We can't put the player at risk, no matter who it is. We've got to gauge [the injury] and see. In the next couple of days, it could be better. I'm assuming it would be better. But we've just got to see how much better."

The Bears' regular No. 2 quarterback, veteran Andy Dalton, has been ruled out of Sunday's game. Dalton suffered a left hand injury Dec. 5 against the Cardinals and was on the COVID-19 list Dec. 17-23. But the reason he can't play is due to a lingering groin injury.

"With Andy, his groin, before he went on the COVID protocol, he just started feeling it a little bit, and then he went on COVID and throughout that time it was kind of there a little bit, but nothing too bad," Nagy said. "We came out to practice the other day and it just started feeling a little bit worse."

If Fields is unable to serve as the backup Sunday, that role would be filled by Ryan Willis, who was signed to the practice squad Dec. 18. The 6-4, 211-pounder split his college career between Kansas and Virginia Tech and was not selected in the 2020 NFL Draft.

"We have to balance where we're at with [Fields' health] with what Ryan could do just getting here recently," Nagy said. "He's literally learning this playbook and what to do. It would be probably more of an emergency situation. We just have to see where Justin's at, probably percentage-wise, to where it doesn't risk his health but he's able to help us. And if that's not the best thing to do, trust me, then we're going to go ahead and go with Ryan. But Ryan's doing everything he can as well to get prepared."

Foles, meanwhile, will take his first snaps of the season Sunday in Seattle. Acquired by the Bears in a trade with the Jaguars last year, he appeared in nine games with seven starts in 2020, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,852 yards with 10 touchdowns, eight interceptions and an 80.8 passer rating.

With Fields and Dalton sidelined this week, Foles took reps with the No. 1 offense in practice.

"We kind of had to juggle how the reps went and so, today, Nick got every rep, and that was good for him, and Nick got reps prior to this, too," Nagy said.

In other injury news, left tackle Jason Peters (ankle), receiver/return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr. (concussion) and cornerback Xavier Crawford (concussion) have been ruled out of Sunday's game.

Receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot) and nose tackle Eddie Goldman (finger) are both listed as questionable after practicing without restrictions Thursday and Friday.

Chicago Bears
Table - Injury report
PlayerInjuryGame status

Selected by the Bears with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft; the Bears acquired the 11th overall selection after completing a trade with the New York Giants
Fields is just the third Ohio State quarterback in the common draft era to be selected in the first round of an NFL draft, joining Art Schlichter (No. 4 overall pick in 1982) and Dwayne Haskins (No. 15 overall pick in 2019)
Fields is the 31st Buckeye to be selected by the Bears and the first since Marcus Freeman in 2009
Recorded 103 rushing yards vs. the 49ers in Week 8, making him the second quarterback in Bears history to surpass the century mark in rushing, dating back to at least 1960 (Bobby Douglass, three times)

2021 SEASON (Bears):

Made 12 appearances with 10 starts, throwing for 1,870 yards and seven TDs
Rushed for 420 yards and two TDs
Rushed for his first NFL touchdown in the third quarter of Week 1 at the Rams. In doing so he became the first Bears rookie quarterback to rush for a touchdown in his first career game since Johnny Lujack, who rushed for a TD against Green Bay in Week 2 of 1948
Recorded 31 rushing yards and 60 passing yards in the Bears home season-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, entering the game in relief of starter Andy Dalton who left with an injury
Had his first NFL start in Week 3 vs. the Cleveland Browns
Started and completed 11 of 17 passes (64.7%) for 209 yards in the Week 4 win over the Lions; connected on a season-long 64-yard pass to Darnell Mooney
Completed his first-career touchdown pass, a two-yarder to tight end Jesper Horsted with 13:16 to go in the second quarter to put Chicago in front during the Week 5 victory at the Raiders
Registered a season-high 43 rushing yards along with a season-high 16 pass completions vs. the Packers in Week 6; he also recorded his second-career passing touchdown, a five-yard pass to Mooney
Rushed 10 times for a season-high 103 yards in Week 8 vs. SF, becoming the first Bears QB to rush for 100+ yards since Bobby Douglass in 1973. Also completed 19 of 27 passes for 175 yards and a TD, and in doing so he became the third rookie QB (Robert Griffin and Marcus Mariota) with 100+ rush yards, rush TD & pass TD in single game in NFL history
Completed 17-of-29 passes for a season-high 291 passing yards at the Steelers. His seven completions on balls 15+ yards downfield in Pittsburgh are tied for the most by a Bears QB over the past 15 seasons
Fields also averaged 15.6 air yards per attempt in Week 9, which is the second most by any quarterback in a game this season
Recorded 79 passing yards and 23 rushing yards Week 11 vs. the Ravens before exiting the game at the start of the third quarter due to injury
Inactive Weeks 12-13 due to injury
Recorded two passing TDs for the first time this season Week 14 at the Packers. His 54-yard TD pass to WR Damiere Byrd with 3:21 to go in the second quarter marked his longest to date. He also rushed for a team-high 74 yards on the ground
Completed 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards, one touchdown and a rating of 96.6, his highest of the season vs. the Vikings in Week 15. His 285 yards marked his second highest total of season
Inactive Weeks 16-17 due to injury
Inactive Week 18 due to being on Reserve/COVID-19 list
Justin Fields

In addition, the Bears on Friday removed defensive end Bilal Nichols from the reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving nine players on the list: Running back Ryan Nall, receivers Allen Robinson II and Isaiah Coulter, tight ends Jesse James and Jesper Horsted, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, cornerback Jaylon Johnson and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr.

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