By Adam Hoge-

HALAS HALL (CBS) Jay Cutler did not practice Thursday, increasing the doubt about whether or not he’ll be able to play when the Bears take on the 49ers Monday in San Francisco.

Head coach Lovie Smith said Cutler is getting better each day, but the quarterback was nowhere to be seen on the practice field Thursday when reporters were allowed out there.

“No doubt,” Smith said when asked if Cutler was better than he was the day before. “He’s feeling better. And it normally goes like that. You get better each day.”

Smith usually likes to see his players get some practice in during the week before he plays them, but he did not rule out the possibility of Cutler playing without practice.

“As a general rule, we like our guys to at least by Friday get some practice work in,” the head coach said. “But for some of our guys who have been awhile, if we get to game day and they haven’t practiced and they feel like they can go, they’ll play.”

Jason Campbell took first team reps in Cutler’s absence, with the newly re-signed Josh McCown working as the backup. If he has to start, the Bears believe Campbell can play like the NFL starter he used to be.

“He’s a pro who has been around a long time,” Smith said. “He’s thrown a lot of passes, been in a lot of huddles. The guys feel comfortable with him. There’s a reason why we have him here as our backup quarterback.”

While the quarterback update wasn’t exactly good, the Bears did get some good news at wide receiver as Alshon Jeffery was again on the practice field Thursday. He was limited, but made every catch flawlessly in the portion open to the media.

“He’s a good football player,” Smith said. “He was really playing good football for us when he went down. I know we can’t wait to get him out there. If you look at the timetable we had in mind when he went down, this is getting close to about that time. We’re hopeful. I know we can use him.”

Meanwhile, rookie defensive end Shea McClellin did not practice. He also suffered a concussion Sunday. Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina is still nursing a calf injury and did not practice.

For more Bears coverage throughout the season, follow Adam on Twitter at @AdamHogeCBS.

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