After the Bears signed tight end Brody Eldridge on Monday, it was fair to assume that rookie Evan Rodriguez's left knee is still bothersome, especially when Eldridge told Zach Zaidman, "Hope to get into the backfield, play a little fullback. Haven't done that since college, but something that I enjoy."
Fullback/H-back is of course the position Rodriguez (drafted in April as a tight end) was playing before suffering a sprained MCL in week three against the Rams.
But, Rodriguez participated in practice on Monday, a full week ahead of the Bears' week seven game against the Lions at Soldier Field. According to ESPN Chicago's Michael Wright, "Rodriguez ran pass routes during the portion of practice in which the media is allowed to view, and didn't appear to be suffering any ill effects from the sprained left MCL that kept him out of the club's last two outings."
Now, the Bears are going to surely be cautious with their rookie, but the fact that he was able to practice on Monday, and apparently didn't look like his knee was bothering him while doing so, is very encouraging news for his chances to play against the Lions.
Additionally, wide receiver Earl Bennett practiced, and told Wright that his hand feels "pain free" after it caused him to miss the last the last two games. Barring a setback, he'll be the Bears' starting slot receiver (and perhaps play a bit more outside than usual) against the Lions.
The Bears are definitely going to need Bennett with rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out for 3-5 weeks with a broken right hand. Jeffery obviously sat out Monday's practice, as did linebacker Blake Costanzo, and cornerback Sherrick McManis. Costanzo, a special teams ace, underwent thumb surgery recently, but he expects to practice on Friday, and should be good to go against the Lions. McManis, also a key special teams player, sat out practice due to a hip injury, but no word yet on the severity of the injury.
The main story about the Lions on the injury front is the status of running back Jahvid Best, who's been on the PUP list all season due to concussion symptons. He's eligible to come off the list this week, but apparently his doctors are still debating on whether or not to clear him to play. To me, that sounds like we should consider him "doubtful" to play in this game against the Bears. And the Bears would have no complaints there, because Best ran for a whopping 163 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in the Lions' 24-13 Monday Night Football win over the Bears last season in Detroit.
The Lions could also be without cornerbacks Jacob Lacey (concussion) and Bill Bentley (shoulder), so this could set up to be a very nice matchup for the Bears' passing game.
#Lions release official statement that Jahvid Best will not be permitted to return to play.Get The Latest DBN Updates By Following Us On Facebook & Twitter.
— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) October 15, 2012