The Chicago Bears held a light practice Wednesday afternoon, a walk-through of sorts but with enough work that quarterback Justin Fields was able to test his injured left shoulder. The team’s medical staff cleared Fields to participate, but he still felt noticeable pain as he continued working through what he said was a separation of the shoulder with a partially torn ligament.
Fields indicated he felt discomfort throwing and handing the ball off during practice. “The pain is pretty high,” he said.
If the Bears had to face the New York Jets on Wednesday, Fields said he wouldn’t have played.
“But good thing we don’t play today,” he added. “We play in four days. So we’ll see how it feels in four days.”
That’s good news for the Bears. Unless it isn’t.
Suddenly the team finds itself with a big decision, weighing the risk-reward proposition of putting their franchise quarterback on the field with a significant injury to his non-throwing shoulder.
As the week moves forward, this will become an issue of strength and pain tolerance, the latter of which Fields rarely has issues with. He noted Wednesday that the most pain he has played through came during the national championship game in January 2021, when while with Ohio State he played with cracked ribs and a partially torn hip muscle.
“That’s the last game of the year,” Fields said. “I’ve got to damn near die to not play in that one.”
Fields was reminded, though, that his 3-8 Bears won’t be playing for a championship Sunday against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “Again, it’s just seeing how I feel, seeing if I can protect myself or not and just playing it by ear.”
To that end, coach Matt Eberflus emphasized the Bears would not be reckless with whatever final decision they make on Fields’ playing status. “He’s got to be full-go, ready to do everything,” Eberflus said.
At the same time, the Bears will have plenty to sort through. Fields is already pushing to play, and his coach wouldn’t mind having him out there against the Jets, particularly after Fields has accounted for 15 touchdowns over the last five games.
“If he’s ready to play, he’s going to play,” Eberflus said. “He feels that way; we feel that way. If he’s ready to go and feels good about it, he’s going to play the game. … We’re trying to win. We want to win. There are a lot of great things to getting the experience of playing a game, every single game we can. That’s an important part to this season.”
Added Fields: “Coach Flus pretty much said it was up to me. They want the best thing for me. So he said if I feel I can play, if I feel that I can go out there and protect myself, then I’ll be able to go. I’m just going to see how it feels each and every day and play it by ear.”
Bears general manager Ryan Poles, though, is certain to have significant influence in the …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports