- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- There has been an increased sense of optimism this week that Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (groin) and weakside linebacker Lance Briggs (left shoulder) are on track to the return to the field sooner than originally expected, but the club officially ruled out both players for the team's Monday night game at Lambeau Field, while listing veteran cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) as probable to face the Green Bay Packers.
The Bears rested Tillman for much of the week, but the two-time Pro Bowler participated in practice Friday and Saturday and is expected to be in the starting lineup against the Packers. Tillman has dealing with a sore right knee that forced him to sit out the Bears' Week 6 game against the New York Giants and caused the cornerback to miss time in the second half of the Bears' 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins on October 10. The Bears were on a bye the following week.
"I got some time off (last week during the bye week) and was able to rest my knee," Tillman said. "I can do 10 times more than I was able to do earlier in the season. So (the bye week) was very beneficial for my knee. Yeah, (this is the best I've felt in a while). Yeah, I feel pretty good."
Bears head coach Marc Trestman said Saturday that Tillman moved well at practice the last two days.
"He had a full practice today and he worked some (after practice)," Trestman said. "He appears all set and ready to go."
Cutler tore a groin muscle in the first half against the Redskins and was expected to miss a minimum of four weeks, the team announced. But Cutler said on Tuesday that his goal is to return to action before the four-week timetable, with teammate Brandon Marshall going as far as to say this week that Cutler's "worse-case scenario" would be to sit out one game and be back in time for the Bears' November 10 home game against the Detroit Lions.
The Bears said that Briggs would be sidelined for around six weeks due to a small fracture in his left shoulder he sustained in the Washington game, but Briggs commented earlier in the week on his television show that he planned to miss approximately two-to-three weeks.
Both Cutler and Briggs attended all five practices leading up to the Packers game, with Briggs wearing a sling to protect his left arm/shoulder.
The Chicago Bears are optimistic that quarterback Jay Cutler (groin) and linebacker Lance Briggs (left shoulder) will return to the field sooner than expected, but both are out Monday.