By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) Charles Tillman is officially considered day-to-day with a groin injury, casting some doubt about whether or not he’ll play against the Lions Sunday.
It’s important to remember that Tillman was medically cleared to play when the Bears’ coaching staff held him out of the fourth quarter against the Steelers, but the cornerback was already dealing with a knee injury before he injured his groin and it was evident he was playing hurt in that game.
Tillman did not practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, but head coach Marc Trestman indicated that the cornerback will do more work Thursday. Of course even if he plays Sunday, he probably won’t be 100 percent and that is significant considering the success Tillman has had against Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson in recent matchups.
“He’s a big corner,” Johnson said on a conference call Wednesday. “He’s a big, strong, physical corner. He’s smart. He’s seen a lot of football, so he understands some of the concepts probably that we do on offense, so we’ve got to throw different things at him to get him off balance.”
If Tillman can’t play at all, the Bears could be in some trouble. Zach Bowman would likely spend most of the game matched up against Johnson, but he was limited in practice Wednesday with a knee injury. That bumped up the practice reps for undrafted free agent C.J. Wilson, who could be activated for the first time Sunday for depth purposes.
“We moved some people around today,” Trestman said. “C.J. got some work today and Zack will continue to work over there as well.”
To complicate matters further, cornerback Sherrick McManis, who primarily plays on special teams, missed practice with a quad injury.
Minter Could See First Action
Wilson is not the only undrafted free agent who could be activated Sunday. With defensive tackle Henry Melton going down with a torn ACL, it’s likely Zach Minter will dress for the first time in the NFL.
It’s been a fast climb for Minter, who played college football for FCS-level Montana State last season.
“The biggest adjustment is just learning the margin for error,” Minter said Wednesday. “There’s little area to slip up. You always want to be on your game. The pace of the game too. That’s why I lean on these guys to learn from them. Learn from the coaches and trust in the defense and trust the older guys.”
The Bears may still bring in help at the defensive tackle position, but even if they did so this week, it would be tough to get that player ready for Sunday, which is why it looks like Minter will be active. That said, it doesn’t mean he would see a lot of playing time.
“He’s developing,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said about Minter. “He’s getting better. He’s here for a reason. We feel like he can help us at some point.”
– From a mechanics standpoint, Trestman said Jay Cutler is “carrying the ball a little bit higher now and finishing his throws.”
– Lions running back Reggie Bush was back at practice Wednesday after missing Sunday’s game against the Redskins with a knee injury.
– Calvin Johnson (knee) did not participate in Lions practice Wednesday, but there’s little doubt he’ll play against the Bears.