Hester's availability on offense remains iffy

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
5:33
PM ET
[+] EnlargeDevin Hester
Mike DiNovo/US PresswireDevin Hester's illness did not stop him from returning a punt for a TD last week.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Devin Hester was used exclusively on special teams last Sunday because of an illness that forced the receiver to miss the entire week of practice leading up to the Detroit Lions game, but is he ready to return to a bigger role on offense?

Just like the majority of receivers who play in Mike Martz's system, Hester usually needs a full week of practice to get familiar and feel comfortable with the particular week's offensive gameplan. So it's unclear if Hester jumps right back into his starting wideout role versus San Diego, considering he was limited at practice on Wednesday, according to Martz.

"Because of the temperature, I guess, we kept him out a little bit today," Martz said. "But we expect him to get back into things on Sunday."

Earl Bennett has emerged as the club's top threat at receiver, while the coaching staff would like to get Johnny Knox (18.1 yards per catch) a little more involved in the passing game. That could possibly lead to a slight decrease in snaps for Hester at receiver, but would allow the Bears to use him on selected plays, which might lead to an increase in overall production.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He is also a talk-show host on ESPN 1000 and the ESPN Radio network.

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