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Monday, September 19, 2011
Bears hope Chris Harris returns

By Jeff Dickerson

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears are hopeful veteran safety Chris Harris can return from a hamstring injury in time to face the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Harris was forced to miss the Saints game after he hurt his hamstring in the final minutes of the Week 1 victory over Atlanta. With Harris out, the Bears started Major Wright and Brandon Meriweather at safety, but it was Wright and rookie Chris Conte who were beaten deep by New Orleans receiver Devery Henderson on a 79-yard touchdown reception.

"We missed Chris a lot," Meriweather said Monday. "He's one of the smartest guys on the defense. He can line people up, he's like a crutch. He's somebody who we can depend on when things are going bad to get everybody focused ... just his leadership on the field is tremendous. He's a great guy. He's one of the better players I have played with."

The Bears' depth at safety was further tested last Sunday when Wright was knocked out of the game with a head injury and Craig Steltz came off the bench and was paired with Meriweather at the start of the fourth quarter.

Wright's head injury isn't considered serious, according to Bears coach Lovie Smith.

"Major Wright had a head injury there, stiff neck, he should be OK," Smith said.

In other health-related news: Rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi has a dislocated knee, according to a source, while wideout Earl Bennett is dealing with a painful bruised chest. Bennett, who took a hit in the chest from Saints safety Roman Harper, attempted to play through the injury, but was ultimately removed from the game.

It's uncertain whether either Carimi or Bennett will be able to play against the Packers.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for and ESPN 1000.