Chris Harris may be back in mix

Updated: October 21, 2011, 9:03 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

LONDON -- The journey of Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris could take another strange twist Sunday with the possibility the veteran might be back in the mix with Major Wright nursing an injured hip.

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler
AP Photo/Tom HeveziJay Cutler tries his hand at cricket during a team training session at the Oval cricket ground.

But Wright was listed as probable on the team's official injury report. In fact, every Bears player who is injured -- except for Gabe Carimi (knee) and Matt Toeaina (knee), who are out -- is listed as probable.

Bears coach Lovie Smith acknowledged Friday that Wright's hip injury "could affect his status for Sunday."

That means Harris -- who was benched last week, before asking and receiving permission to seek a trade -- will likely be active for Sunday's matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium. In other injury news, Devin Hester (chest) said he'll be healthy enough to play on Sunday while the return of receiver Earl Bennett (torso) remains in question.

Smith maintained all week that Hester's injury wasn't serious, and should be placed into the category of "bumps and bruises." As for Bennett, Smith said the receiver "has been getting better each day," adding that "we're close" to a possible return to action.

"Don't know if he's ready to go yet. He had a good practice yesterday, and he's making a lot of improvement," Smith said. "We've kept him out of contact work for the most part. But besides that he's been able to do most of the stuff we've asked him to do. Earl is always in pretty good shape; don't think that [conditioning] will be that much of an issue."

Both Bennett and Hester appeared to be fully healthy Friday when the team worked at The Oval Cricket Grounds.

"I practiced yesterday," Hester said. "So after practice I felt that I was ready to go. The flight didn't change my mind."

Minutes before the Friday session, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler took turns swinging a cricket bat with linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs as members of the Surrey County cricket club tossed the ball. Afterward, the Surrey players presented Cutler, Briggs and Urlacher with cricket jerseys. Urlacher gave the players a football.

Cutler said he was "excited" upon learning in the offseason that the NFL had scheduled a game for the Bears in London.

"When you look back on it, you're gonna be honored you were able to come over here and represent the NFL, and play in front of an entire different country" Cutler said. "It's gonna be fun."

As for Harris, Smith reiterated the frequency at which roles change in the NFL. It's worth noting the Bears have lined up with five combinations at safety over the first seven games, and the coach didn't rule out the possibility of a sixth change.

"Chris Harris and the rest of our players know that," Smith said. "Last week, after I told [Harris] his role would be different, he was on the sidelines coaching guys up. I think all our players are ready for me, and for us to tell them what they'll be doing this week. They're gonna do the best of their ability to get that done."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter