- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Although there is a slight chance Jeffery could return this week, according to one source, the thought is the team will keep him out against the Texans to minimize the risk of re-injury to his broken right hand, before bringing the receiver back Nov. 19 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jeffery missed the past three games after breaking his hand in the fourth quarter of the Bears' Oct. 7 win at Jacksonville. Upon returning from the Bears' 51-20 win over the Tennessee Titans, Jeffery on Monday had the hand re-evaluated.
Although Jeffery's injury didn't require surgery, the receiver had been wearing a cast.
"Alshon Jeffery continues to get better," Bears coach Lovie Smith said on Monday. "Don't know what his status will be this week, but we're getting closer as each day goes by."
Despite sitting out the past four weeks (which includes the bye week), Jeffery still has played more snaps (225) than all but two receivers (Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester) on the roster and ranks fourth on the team in receiving with 14 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Jeffery has caught nearly 61 percent of the passes thrown his direction with no drops, doing most of his damage down the middle of the field (five catches, 90 yards, two TDs).
Smith said on Oct. 29 that he expects Jeffery to pick up where he left off upon his return to the lineup.
The initial timeline for Jeffery to return was four to six weeks.
"You have to first off stay in the game mentally, and he's doing that.
He's doing all the things you can do if you're injured," Smith said.
"And to be a good pro for years to come you're going to have an injury you're going to have to deal with. So you need to learn this routine, which he is doing. No complaints about him at all; can't wait to get him back out there."
7hBy Jackie MacMullan
1dEric D. Williams