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McPhee happy to return to practice

Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee took a significant step in his recovery from offseason knee surgery Friday by practicing for the first time in 2016.

Because McPhee is on the physically unable to perform list, Friday was the first day he was eligible to practice. The Bears now have 21 days to add him to their 53-man roster. If that deadline passes without him being activated, he would be forced to sit out the rest of the year.

Players on the PUP list are not permitted to play the first six weeks of the regular season, meaning that the first game that McPhee can participate in is next Thursday night in Green Bay.


Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee at practice for the first time in 2016 on Friday.

Asked about McPhee practicing Friday, coach John Fox said: "Obviously, he was excited. It was good to see a smile on his face. It was the first time he's got a chance to go out there and actually practice with the team and go through some drills. He primarily did scout team work since he can't play this Sunday. But I think, all-in-all, it was a positive day for him."

It appears that the Bears will ease McPhee back into action.

"We're going to have to be smart on how we manage his reps, both on the practice field in preparation as well as in games," Fox said. "We're just kind of starting that procedure now. It's been a while. I think his surgery was like 39 weeks ago or something of that nature, so it's been a while. We'll definitely be cautious moving forward."

McPhee told reporters that he was thrilled to be back on the practice field with his teammates.

"It felt great," he said. "All the glory to God. God brought me through it. He just kept giving me strength and keeping my mind strong and that's the most important thing. I feel great. I'm out there practicing, running around with my teammates, so that's the best feeling in the world."

McPhee's return Friday provided a lift to a Bears team that has been decimated by injuries.

"Any time that guys can look next to them and see kind of an integral part or a guy that can be an integral part to help you win, obviously that gives you confidence and it gives you a boost of energy," Fox said. "He looked good. He would like to play [Sunday against the Jaguars]. Unfortunately, they won't allow us to do that. I would lobby for that myself."

Health report: In other injury news Friday, the Bears declared cornerback Deiondre Hall (ankle) out for Sunday's game and listed quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle) and nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle) as doubtful.

They also listed 13 players as questionable: Outside linebackers Leonard Floyd (calf), Sam Acho (ribs) and Willie Young (knee/elbow); running back Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring); receivers Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and Eddie Royal (calf); tight end Zach Miller (ribs); guards Kyle Long (shoulder) and Josh Sitton (shoulder); tackle Bobby Massie (ankle); linebacker Jerrell Freeman (wrist); and cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Bryce Callahan (hamstring).

Twelve of the 13 questionable players were limited in Friday's practice, with only Floyd sitting out the workout entirely.

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