LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman remains hopeful for the return of Jay Cutler on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but added the team has “got to be reserved about it as well,” because the quarterback’s clearance hinges on recommendations from team doctors.
The Bears participated only in walkthroughs on Wednesday, but the plan on Thursday is for the team to work out Cutler, to see where he is physically before making a determination.
Cutler tore a groin muscle during the team’s Oct. 20 loss at Washington.
“I don’t know where he’s at (physically) really,” Trestman said. “He’s been running around, working out with the trainers. He spent a lot of time on the off day with (Bears assistant head athletic trainer and director of rehabilitation) Bobby (Slater), working with bands, redirecting and things like that. We’ll see where things are in the morning when he’ll be evaluated. At the end of the day the doctors will determine (whether to clear Cutler). Part of that determination will be by working him out and making sure he can move suddenly and redirect himself, and stride and run full out. Those will be the determinations, and then the doctors will have a say. They’ll make the decision on whether they allow him free access to practice.”
If that access is granted, Trestman said two days of practice -- Thursday and Friday -- would be sufficient prep time for Cutler to play against the Lions. The coach also said that strong play recently by backup quarterback Josh McCown in Cutler’s absence won’t factor into the decision.
McCown has generated a passer rating of 100.2 in two games, while throwing for 476 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers.
“There is no gray area in this decision. The doctors are either going to say he can play, and that means he can play without any sense that there’s going to be (issues concerning Cutler’s safety),” Trestman said. “Nobody can ever predict 100 percent and we wouldn’t do that either, but certainly that the doctors feel he would be ready to play, and play at full speed. If he is then he’ll go. That’s really it. For this time, I would want him to be cleared to practice and hopeful that by being cleared to practice, that he will play. Because we want to give him all the reps, we’d be hopeful that the clearance would be indicative that he’d be able to play.”
Receiver Brandon Marshall, meanwhile, joked “there might be a little QB controversy” because of McCown’s strong play, but maintains his belief that Cutler will start against the Lions. During the team’s bye week, Marshall filled in for the quarterback on ESPN 1000’s “The Jay Cutler Show” on Oct. 22 and said the “worst-case scenario” for Cutler’s return would be Sunday's matchup versus Detroit.
“He’s back, he’s back, the prediction was right. I look like a genius right now,” Marshall said. “If anything comes up throughout the week we’ll probably have to adjust, but on a serious note, Jay’s on the right track. I think he’s going to try it this week. If he can go, he’ll go, if he can’t, I think he’s going to make a very hard decision to rest it a little bit more. But he’s definitely put himself in position to make it out there for Sunday.”
Cutler has done that by an aggressive rehabilitation schedule that includes PRP shots, use of an ARP machine and a restricted diet. Cutler wants to play against the Lions, but admitted the decision isn’t up to him.
“I’m not gonna just walk in the building and be like, ‘Hey, I’m ready to go,’” Cutler said. “Doctors have got to O.K. it. I’ve got to prove to them that I can protect myself out there, (that I) can do everything that we need to do at the quarterback position. We’ve still got some hurdles to go through.”