After missing the last four games with a dislocated right thumb, Bears quarterback Justin Fields is ecstatic about returning to action Sunday against the Lions in Detroit.
The third-year pro is set to make his first start since Oct. 15 when he exited a loss to the Vikings after hurting his thumb on a third-quarter sack.
"Of course, I'm really excited," Fields said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I feel like the longer I was out, the more I was trying to go. I'm really excited to be back this week and be back on the field with the guys."
Fields told reporters that his thumb is "not 100 percent, but it feels good," adding that "there's still a little bit of healing left, but it's stable."
"Feels good to throw," Fields said. "Arm feels fresh. Taped it up today at practice. We'll see how it is feeling on Sunday and whether I need tape or not. I tried the glove at first, just because I didn't have to grip the ball as much with the glove. But I didn't really feel too comfortable with the glove on."
Fields isn't concerned about his thumb impacting his ability to protect the ball.
"I wouldn't be playing if it was going to affect that," he said. "I don't see that as a problem come Sunday."
Fields returned to practice Nov. 3 on a limited basis and was close to playing Nov. 9 in a Thursday night win over the Panthers. But it was the Bears' second game in five days, and they had only one practice to prepare.
"There was real consideration," Fields said. "I wanted to play. But the head trainer said it was best for my future long-term just to wait it out one more week, especially coming off a short week. And if it would have gotten hit, it probably would have postponed it another 2-3 weeks."
The Bears are hoping that Fields reverts to the form he displayed in Weeks 4-6 when he posted a 120.0 passer rating that was tops in the NFL during that span. In back-to-back starts against the Broncos and Commanders, he passed for 617 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception.
During the four games he missed, Fields helped support his replacement, undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent.
"When I was out, I was trying to just be the same leader I was when I was playing, helping Tyson out with anything he asked for," Fields said. "I would write extra notes with scouting reports on DBs and safeties and linebackers and send it to him."
Bagent performed well in leading the Bears to wins over the Raiders and Panthers, causing some fans and media to try to create a quarterback controversy.
Fields was not surprised.
"That's the world we live in nowadays," he said. "Everybody wants to cause a stir, cause media attention, boom, boom, boom, comments, stories. That's just what comes with it. I knew that was going to happen from the get-go, so it came to me as no surprise. Like I said, I was coming in the building every day being the same guy I was before I was hurt, just trying to be the best leader I can be."
While there will be a narrative over the final seven games of the season that Fields is auditioning to become the Bears' long-term answer at quarterback, his sole focus will still be to "just go out there and win games."
"I'm not here to prove anything to anybody," Fields said. "I'm playing for my teammates, I'm playing for the coaches, and that's it. Everything else will take care of itself. I'm not necessarily trying to prove anything to anybody. Just go out there with my brothers; go out there and perform."
The Bears were back on the practice fields at Halas Hall to continue their preparation for Sunday's divisional battle with the Lions in Detroit.