Matt Forte was a limited participant in practice today, which means he’s about to become a full participant in your week of hurt. Deep, burning hurt.
Since at some point you were cursed by the universe and now your mere presence causes planes and ships to crash on remote islands, you’re now suffering from a far more haunting fate. The Monday night injury decision.
Forte’s bad ankle that definitely isn’t a high ankle sprain — and don’t ever say that it is or you’ll be deported — has healed much quicker than expected, so there’s now a chance he could only miss one game. He sat out Week 3, and in his absence Michael Bush was mediocre, rushing for 55 yards on 13 carries (3.1 yards per carry) and scoring a touchdown during Chicago’s easy 23-6 win over St. Louis. Forte practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day today, which is definitely encouraging, but yesterday Bears head coach Lovie Smith cautioned that he “still has a long way to go.”
Evidently he may have covered that long, winding journey in just 24 hours, because now after Forte practiced again today Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune told NFL Network that barring a setback, he’ll play Monday night against the Cowboys. That sounds both great and horrifying.
The reason for the former is obvious, because although his matchup against the Cowboys isn’t overly favorable (they were one of the eight teams to allow less than 100 rushing yards per came last year), a healthy elite or nearly elite running back is an automatic play. That especially applies following the carnage of the past few weeks at the position.
But the problem is that optimism isn’t good enough. We need certainty to even entertain the thought of starting a running back who’s recovering from an ankle injury, and we likely won’t get it until Monday, which is far too late. If you’re a Forte owner, hopefully you’re also a Michael Bush owner. He’s hurt too, although his shoulder injury is far more minor, and he practiced fully Thursday.
Right now a highly possible scenario is one that will torpedo Bush’s value this week, and also be a significant gut punch for Forte too. The Bears could ease their starter back in, leading to maybe a 60/40 time share in his favor, with Bush still seeing a sizable workload and goal-line vulture opportunities.
So this tune may change to a more pleasant melody tomorrow, but right now, the best direction heading into this weekend is to prepare to roll with Bush again, and monitor Forte closely right up until the early kickoffs Sunday.
Look out, here comes more hurt…
- Reggie Bush (knee): Anyone who’s written anything about Bush’s knee injury is saying that it doesn’t look like he’s injured at all. Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post says that although he only did light work in non-contact drills today, Bush is running and cutting at full speed, leaving little doubt that he’ll play Sunday against Arizona. Wait to see Bush’s Friday status, and how his knee responds to today’s activity. But it’s sounding like he’s a safe play this week. [Rotoworld]
- Fred Jackson (knee): One half of Buffalo’s wounded running backs looks like he’ll be ready for Sunday. Although he had some soreness and swelling this morning, optimism remains high. [Buffalo News]
- C.J. Spiller (shoulder): He’s still healing much quicker than expected and being on the field two days in a row is encouraging. But Spiller received only very limited work in practice today, and Bills head coach Chan Gailey sounds far less optimistic about his chances. It’s increasingly looking like it’ll be Jackson starting for the Bills this week, backed up by Tashard Choice. [Buffalo Rumblings]
- Christian Ponder (Neck): This was a surprise late addition to the Vikings’ Thursday injury report. But it doesn’t appear to be serious, and Ponder is on track to start. [Judd Zulgad]
- Matthew Stafford (hip): Hip, hamstring, or whatever. He’s fine, and he’s playing. [PFT]
- Steven Jackson (groin, age): Jackson was held out for the second straight day, but it’s only a precautionary measure. His only injury is being old. [Jim Thomas]
- Kenny Britt (ankle): When the player in question is using words like “possible” to describe his playing status, that’s bad. [The Tennessean]