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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Briggs limited, practices with first team

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears weakside linebacker Lance Briggs practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, but worked some with the first team as he attempts to return from a shoulder fracture that has kept him sidelined the last eight weeks.

The Bears (8-6) travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) on Sunday night in a game that has playoff ramifications for both teams.

“It’s still day-to-day,” Trestman said of Briggs. “I’m optimistic he’ll play. How much? We’ll see how he feels. I’d be better to answer that question after Friday’s practice, maybe even going into Sunday. But he did get some work today, and I talked to him after; he said he felt pretty good, so we’ll see where he is tomorrow.

"He hasn’t played football in long time. Lance is a unique athlete. It would certainly be exciting to see him out on the field on Sunday. It would certainly be good for our football team to have him out there and have him playing. I haven’t talked to the trainers about it, I haven’t talked to the doctors about it; we’ll do what’s best for him to make sure he’s safe out there, and we’ll go from there.”

Briggs officially returned to the practice field last week for the first time since he suffered the injury on Oct. 10 in the Bears’ 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins.

But even if Briggs is active versus the Eagles, teammate Brandon Marshall, who sat out practice on Wednesday with a sore quad, expects it will take a little time for the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker to re-acclimate himself to live game action.

“Lance will probably have a little rust there,” Marshall said. “There will be a little transitional period, maybe in the first quarter or so. But we all know what Lance is capable of doing. He’s a monster out there.

"I wouldn’t test Lance too much (if I were the Eagles). His history says enough.”

One of the most decorated linebackers in recent Bears’ history, Briggs has recorded 75 tackles this season along with two sacks, two forced fumbles and nine tackles for loss. Without Briggs on the field for the last seven games, the Bears have suffered on defense. Entering Sunday night, the Bears rank No. 27 in total defense, No. 28 in points allowed and No. 32 in rushing defense.

“Lance is moving around well,” Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. “He’s got good pep in his step. He’s excited to be back out there working with the guys. He’s just very experienced and steps right in and knows what to do. He plays fast. It’s good to have him back out there working a little bit.

"He’s a good player. The more good players you have playing, the better chance you have. We’ll see. We’ll take it day-to-day and see how it goes. He had a good day today and we’ll keep going.”

Briggs declined to speak with reporters as he exited the practice field but said he will address the media following Thursday’s workout.