The drumbeat of Bears injuries has taken reached near-monotonous levels through the 2016 season, with rare good news for a team desperately in need of some.
On Wednesday, after virtually every player was able to practice to some extent after Tuesday off, only backup running back Ka’Deem Carey and cornerback Deiondre Hall did not practice as the Bears began on-field preparations for Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton; nose tackle Eddie Goldman; linebacker Pernell McPhee; cornerbacks Bryce Callahan and Tracy Porter — all starters, all practicing at least on a limited basis at a time of year where veterans can occasionally be held back to ensure availability on game day.
Arguably the biggest question hanging over the defense is the status of Goldman, who has not played since suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Philadelphia game. Because he has missed six weeks, Goldman’s need is to display the ability to go in full during practice.
[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]
“If he can’t do it at a good practice tempo then he probably can’t do it at game speed,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “So if he’s doing well in practice and he feels good about it, then we can take a shot with him. If he’s so-so in practice and still hobbling a little bit, then maybe not.
“I think the rust that he’ll have will be more so playing on a non-full-speed ankle. He’s still not 100 percent obviously and we’ll see how he progresses tomorrow and Friday to see if he’s capable of playing.”
McPhee, whose return put an emotional charge as well as some impact playmaking into the defense in the win over Minnesota, met Fangio’s standard enough before the Green Bay game and played, though just 19 snaps. For him the key now is whether he can go beyond 30 percent of opposing snaps in a game.
“I got more playing time [vs. Minnesota], got going a little more and coach put me a little more in the game plan,” McPhee said. “Biggest thing was going out there and just competing, and I did that.”