Justin Fields is expected to start Sunday for the Chicago Bears when they face the Detroit Lions, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The Bears quarterback has missed their last four games after suffering a dislocated thumb in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. Tyson Bagent assumed the starter’s role in Fields’ absence and led the team to a 2-2 record.
Fields has practiced over the last week and his ability to grip the ball was one of the biggest obstacles in determining whether he’d be ready to play again.
“Is he comfortable?” said Bears quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko. “What is his pain tolerance? Is he getting back to where he is? Is his rhythm there? Is it coming off his hands smoothly? And what’s the ball look like when it’s coming out? Is it coming out with any flap at all or is it coming out nice and smooth and looks like him?”
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said that after Fields goes through team drills on Wednesday they will make a final determination on Fields’ playing status for Week 11.
These final seven weeks will give the Bears’ brass an opportunity to determine whether Fields will be their guy under center going forward. Chicago will likely have two very high picks in next spring’s NFL Draft, possibly even the No. 1 overall selection thanks to last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers. Will they decide to continue building around him or try their luck with the incoming rookie quarterback crop?