By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) — Talk about poor timing.
Just three days after his finest performance in the NFL, Bears defensive end Shea McClellin injured his hamstring in practice and will likely miss Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.
“Shea tweaked a ham, got a little pull in his ham,” head coach Marc Trestman said. “I would say he’s doubtful for the game. It happened yesterday, accidentally in a drill, and we’ll see how he is tomorrow, but I would say right now he’s doubtful.”
McClellin’s injury is just the latest for a defensive line demolished by injuries this season. With the end likely out Sunday, David Bass, a rookie drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round, is likely to start in his place. Trestman also said Cheta Ozougwu, who is currently on the practice squad, will be active for the game. If that’s the case, a corresponding move will need to be made to add Ozougwu to the 53-man roster. It also means rookie Cornelius Washington, drafted by the Bears in the sixth round, is being passed up again. He’s been inactive for the last four games.
The injury couldn’t come at a worse time for McClellin, who tallied three sacks Monday night against the Packers, including one that knocked Aaron Rodgers out of the game with a fractured collarbone.
“On a personal level, I feel bad for him if he doesn’t play because he really had a good game last week, we all know that, and he was moving in the right direction, so certainly disappointed for him,” Trestman said.
So it will be “next man up” for Bass, the rookie from Missouri Western State who has shown a promising ability in the last four games with 1.5 TFLs, but no sacks.
“I think he has athletic ability, he’s strong up front, he can move around and (assistant defensive line coach Mike Sinclair) is working hard to continue to develop him,” Trestman said. “We think he’s got some upside and he’s certainly going to get an opportunity to play if this thing goes as we think it will.”
Bass went into a little more detail about what he has been working on with Sinclair.
“My first two steps, staying low, pad level, using my hands,” he said. “That’s huge in this league. As a defensive linemen, you get locked up with the big offensive linemen and it kind of just becomes a big hugging match, you can’t get rid of him.”
If McClellin can’t go as expected, Bass will become the third rookie thrust into the starting lineup this season because of injury. Middle linebacker Jon Bostic is currently starting for D.J. Williams, who went on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle, while weak side linebacker Khaseem Greene is filling in for Lance Briggs, who is nursing a fractured shoulder and is expected to be out at least two more weeks.
Cutler Good To Go
Quarterback Jay Cutler once again took all the reps in practice and is full go for Sunday’s start against the Lions.
“It’s assumed he’s going to be rusty and I won’t assume that,” Trestman said. “We expect him to play at the highest level. We wouldn’t have him out there if we didn’t think he could perform at that and I know he wouldn’t want to be out there. He’s worked so hard that if he didn’t think he was ready personally and in his mind emotionally I don’t think he would put himself out there and put the team at risk.”
As for not giving backup quarterback Josh McCown any reps in practice just in case, Trestman said there simply wasn’t enough time.
“With only two days, Jay needed every rep anyway, and we had to make sure that what we were seeing in his workouts were the same that we saw in a competitive practice and they were,” Trestman said.
– New defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff is still considered “week-to-week” and his availability for next week’s game against the Ravens will be assessed when the team comes back to practice Wednesday.
– Ratliff, Briggs and long snapper Patrick Mannelly were officially rule out for Sunday. Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee), linebacker Blake Costanzo (back), tight end Dante Rosario (ankle) and Cutler are all probable.
– Robbie Gould missed Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado kick three onside kicks Thursday with the ball laying flat on the tee, but the Bears kicker did say he has never seen that before.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.