- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Chicago Bears reporter
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears practiced Thursday without rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery, along with defensive tackle and Matt Toeaina (calf), and linebacker Brian Urlacher, who received the customary veteran's day off.
Jeffery is the only player of the group not expected to play Sunday when the Bears host the Houston Texans at Soldier Field, but the receiver hasn't been declared out officially.
"Alshon Jeffery is getting better," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He's not quite there yet."
Although there's a chance -- which looks slimmer by the day -- that Jeffery could return this week according to sources, the Bears plan to hold out the receiver against the Texans to minimize the risk of re-injury to his broken right hand, before bringing him back for a Nov. 19 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.
Jeffery missed the past three games after breaking his hand in the fourth quarter of the club's Oct. 7 win at Jacksonville.
Toeaina, meanwhile, has been inactive for the past three contests.
Three Texans didn't participate Thursday: Defensive tackle Shaun Cody (ribs), tight end Owen Daniels (back), and running back Ben Tate (hamstring). Fullback James Casey (illness) was listed as limited Thursday along with cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph (quadriceps) and Brice McCain (knee), defensive end Antonio Smith (ankle) and receiver Kevin Walter (groin).
Texans listed with full participation included linebackers Bryan Braman (neck), Jesse Nading (foot/neck) and Wade Smith (knee), safeties Quinten Demps (thumb/forearm) and Shiloh Keo (back), receiver Lestar Jean (knee), nose tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle) and quarterback T.J. Yates (right elbow).
Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery (hand) didn't practice on Thursday.