Bears quarterback Justin Fields has missed Chicago‘s past two games as he nurses a dislocated thumb on his right hand. Backup QB Tyson Bagent guided the Bears to a surprising win over the Las Vegas Raiders in his first start, but his second start — at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Chargers — went much worse.
Perhaps it is good timing, then, that Fields has stepped up his recovery and is in line for a return — potentially as soon as Sunday, when the Bears take on the Saints in New Orleans.
I’ve been progressing each and every day, but we’ll see.
Fields returns to practice
Fields on Friday practiced for the first time since he injured his throwing hand against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 15. He took the field wearing a glove to protect his hand, and head coach Matt Eberflus later remarked on the former first-round pick’s return to full health.
“He’s progressing day to day now, so it’s good to see and take that next step in that progression. He was dialed in on the game plan the whole week, as he’s been the last couple weeks,” Eberflus said. “As you guys see, he’s doubtful for the game, which is 51% out. But we’ll see where it progresses through this weekend and onto the start of next week as well.”
“Doubtful” is Fields’s official designation on Chicago‘s injury report — and for the moment, the Bears will be turning to backup Bagent against New Orleans‘ stiff defense.
Bagent is still the Bears QB — for now
Fields himself is preparing as if he will get the starting nod on Sunday at Caesars Superdome. He told reporters that he is getting ready mentally to resume his role as Chicago‘s QB1 — but the decision isn’t Fields’s alone.
Getting Fields healthy and back on the field is among the Bears‘ top priorities as they begin setting the table for the 2024 NFL Draft and subsequent regular season. If Fields returns and plays at a high level, general manager Ryan Poles might feel more comfortable pushing his chips to the center of the table, making more aggressive moves to compete in the NFC North.
But if Fields struggles and the Bears land a pair of top picks inside the top five of the 2024 draft, Poles may have no choice but to move on from the 24-year-old and hitch the wagon to another young quarterback.