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Hoge: Cutler Watch Starts Now

Door Opened To Possible Return Against Lions Nov. 10
Jay Cutler. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Jay Cutler. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

HALAS HALL (CBS) — What began as a bizarre prediction on a cable news network has now become full blown optimism in Lake Forest.

There’s a good chance Jay Cutler will return ahead of schedule from his torn groin.

Originally said to be out “at least four weeks” (including the bye week, the upcoming game at Green Bay and the following two games against Detroit and Baltimore) Cutler hasn’t even been completely ruled out of Monday’s game against the Packers.

“You never want to say never,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said Tuesday. “I would say it’s highly unlikely that Jay will be playing on Monday night, but I would not want to make it 100 percent at this point in time. There’s a lot of time before the game, but it’s highly unlikely.”

Don’t expect Cutler to return that quickly, but Brandon Marshall’s prediction that Cutler “will be back in two weeks” may end up being true. The wide receiver made that prediction on MSNBC last Thursday and based on what Cutler and Trestman said Tuesday, the door has been opened to the quarterback possibly returning against the Lions Nov. 10. At the very least, Detroit, which is on a bye this week, has to worry about preparing for both Josh McCown and Cutler now.

“Brandon is a teammate and he’s optimistic that his teammate will be back,” Trestman said. “He’s not the doctor. When I talk about a player’s prognosis to play, it’s not mine. It’s what the doctors have said. That doesn’t mean that Jay can’t beat the odds and come back quicker, and again, he’s optimistic, you’ve talked to him, he’s optimistic, and we all are, I don’t make that determination, the doctors do.”

Cutler is indeed optimistic. Asked Tuesday if he might return ahead of the original four week timetable, the quarterback simply said: “Yeah. That’s the goal.”

Cutler said the groin injury was “the most significant pain-wise” he’s ever had and added that he knew right away something was wrong.

He wouldn’t get into details about what kind of treatment he is going through, but said he feels better every day.

“Just doing whatever the doctors and trainers tell me. That’s kind of the world we’re living in right now,” he said.

As for the notion that coming back too soon might cause more damage, Cutler said he won’t return until he’s cleared, but as soon as he is, he can’t hold back.

“Whenever they give me the green light, we’re going to go in there rocking and we can’t look back,” he said. “So whenever that happens, you’ll see me out there.”

And based on all the optimism at Halas Hall, that could be sooner rather than later.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.