CHICAGO (CBS) — The Bears have another must-win game next week against the Lions, and head coach Lovie Smith is hoping two of the team’s best players will recover from injuries in time to be on the field in Detroit.
Running back Matt Forte rolled his ankle against the Cardinals in the third quarter on Sunday, and did not return. Smith told WBBM Newsradio’s George Ofman on Monday he’s hopeful Forte just needs some rest to be ready to play in the regular season finale against the Lions.
“We’re hoping that’s the case. You know, got back late last night, and haven’t seen him this morning, but hopefully he’ll be okay,” Smith said.
He’s also hoping linebacker and defensive captain Brian Urlacher will be able to return after missing the past three games with a hamstring strain.
“Well, you know my glass is always half-full. He is making progress, I’ll just say that. We’ll have to see also on him this week,” Smith said.
Although the Bears ended their three-game losing streak, their offense continued to be inconsistent, as quarterback Jay Cutler completed only one of his first 12 passes. But Smith declined to single Cutler out as needing to improve in time for the Lions game.
“We’ll need a lot more from all of our players in this game. I mean, Jay of course did some good things yesterday, like the rest of our team,” Smith said. “We’re just going to have to come together as a team one more time to get this win.”
After starting 1-for-12, Cutler completed 11 of his next 14 passes, including a touchdown throw to Brandon Marshall.
Even if the Bears beat the Lions on Sunday, they’ll need some help to get into the playoffs — from the division rival Packers, of all teams. They need the Packers to beat the Vikings to make the postseason.
Will it be hard for Smith to root for the Packers?
“As you know, I’ve always been a big Packers fan, so that won’t be hard to do this week,” Smith said. “Even going into the game, we knew we would have to get some luck if we took care of business this week, or the next, but that was all based on us taking care of business yesterday against the Cardinals, and we’ll have to do the same against Detroit this week, and then hope.”
He said the Bears can’t concern themselves with the possibility the Packers might rest some key starters against the Vikings, since the Packers have already secured a playoff spot.
“We can’t even worry about that. We don’t control any of that. You know, we assume the Packers will play. I mean, they’re playing for a first round bye,” he said. “It’s just about us taking care of our business, and we’ll have to live with the results from the next game.”
The Lions might be out of the playoff picture, but Smith knows that doesn’t mean they’ll just roll over for the Bears next week.
“I assume that they would like to knock us out of the playoffs,” Smith said. “They put up a lot of yards, you know, put up points. We know what they are. You know, of course, we’ve played them a lot of times, and it will be a big challenge for our team.”