By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) Since injuring his ankle in the season opener against the Bills, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall has spent the weeks leading up to the games rehabbing instead of practicing with the team. Clearly, Chicago coach Marc Trestman would prefer to have Marshall available during the week as the game plan is being installed, but having Marshall physically ready for the game is most important.
“It’s very difficult to be at your best when you don’t practice every day,” Trestman said. “There’s timing issues, there’s different formations, there’s different looks, so that’s a challenge and you have to weigh those costs and benefits as you move through the week knowing that he may or may not play. So we’ll try to work through that and if he is going to play, work hard to put him in position where the things we can give him he knows what to do and he can play at full speed.”
Even though he hasn’t been at full strength since Week 1, Marshall’s productivity hasn’t suffered, as his four receiving touchdowns are the second-most in the NFL (he’s tied with teammate Martellus Bennett). Three of those touchdowns came against the 49ers, which was the first game after he originally injured the ankle. That game showed Marshall’s ability to persevere and produce.
“Brandon gave us enough certainly in the San Francisco game — he would tell you he wasn’t at his best and there were mistakes that were made, and he overcame them,” Trestman said.
Marshall is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Packers at Soldier Field.
Similar to Marshall, Bears defensive end Jared Allen hasn’t practice all week as he deals with an illness. Allen was kept away from Halas Hall most of the week but showed up Friday morning before returning home early to rest. Trestman said that Allen being sent back home isn’t necessarily a sign that he won’t be available Sunday.
Allen’s defensive linemate Willie Young seemed uncertain whether Allen was going to be available against the Packers.
“Since last week we were all getting equal reps, but obviously this is an opportunity,” Young said. “But at the same time, Jared will be missed. Hopefully we still have some leadership and his presence on the sideline with us and whatnot. Kind of help us with some stuff here and there. But for the most part, we’re professionals here, and when one guy goes down we have to look for guys to step up and be effective and just go from there.”
Allen is officially listed as questionable and will likely be a game-time decision.
Here’s the rest of the injury report from Friday’s practice at Halas Hall.
Did not participate/out for Sunday
— DT Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion)
— LB Shea McClellin (hand)
— C Roberto Garza (ankle)
— LG Matt Slauson (ankle)
— CB Sherrick McManis (quad)
Limited participation/questionable for Sunday
— S Chris Conte (shoulder)
Full participation/probable for Sunday
— S Ryan Mundy (shoulder)
— DE Trevor Scott (foot)
Conte on Packers game ‘Just another one’
The Bears dropped the season finale to the Packers last year, losing the division and a playoff berth in the process. So many mental and physical mistakes happened in what was truly a team loss, but fans can’t shake the fourth-down Randall Cobb touchdown reception from their memory banks.
On that play, Bears safety Chris Conte missed a signal and dropped into zone instead of going man on what was an all-out blitz, leaving Cobb wide open down the field. Even with that memory, Sunday doesn’t carry extra significance, Conte said.
“It’s a big rivalry game,” Conte said. “Obviously the way things went down last year, it’s a big game. But there’s a been a lot of things this year that have been big. So it’s just another one.”
Conte’s played well to start the season, but a recurring shoulder sprain has prevented him from finishing the game in back-to-back weeks.
“Whenever you have to deal with an injury, it’s not fun,” Conte said. “It just means a lot of extra work you have to do. I have to make sure I stay positive and stay on top of it.”
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.