Bears' Tyson Bagent to start again as Justin Fields not cleared

ByCourtney Cronin ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 8, 2023

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent will start his fourth straight game in place of Justin Fields, who is recovering from a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand.

Although Fields is listed as doubtful for Thursday night's game against the Carolina Panthers on the Bears' final injury report, coach Matt Eberflus said Chicago's starting quarterback will not play.

"We got to give him one more day," Eberflus said in clarifying why Fields is listed as doubtful rather than ruled out. "Give him one more day. But he's working hard and it's getting better every day, so we'll see where it goes."

Field has not been cleared by the Bears medical staff but was listed as a limited participant in practice this week, two days of which were walk-throughs. Eberflus said that Fields has had no setbacks in his thumb and "may" go through a pregame workout at Soldier Field on Thursday afternoon.

"He's getting better, though," Eberflus said. "Accuracy's improving. He's throwing it better. And he's starting to do more and more and more. So, we'll see where it goes. Right now, we're listing him as doubtful. And we'll see where it goes from there."

When Fields returned to practice Friday and began throwing, he said that his grip strength was not all the way back and that he experienced some pain in gripping the football. Eberflus said Fields' grip strength, accuracy and "ability to function as a quarterback" are "getting close."

With 10 days between Chicago's games against Carolina and the Detroit Lions, the Bears expect Fields to keep throwing during the mini-bye week to put himself in position for a potential return in Week 11.

"He's just going to keep ramping up and getting his throws in and getting everything in, as all the guys are going to do," Eberflus said. "Getting ready for our next game. They all got to put their workloads in. Our guys do a good job of putting a plan in place to get the workloads to get the exercise they need and get the functionality they need to get ready for the next game."

Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds will miss his second straight game with a knee injury. Right guard Nate Davis, who has done "a little bit" of running while working his way back from a high ankle sprain, and cornerback Terell Smith will also not play against Carolina.

Running back Khalil Herbert, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and cornerback Josh Blackwell were full participants in walk-throughs and practice this week and are within their 21-day window to be activated off injured reserve.

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