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Friday, November 11, 2011
Devin Hester sits out practice

By Jeff Dickerson
ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester was a no-show on the practice field Friday and is questionable to play against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Hester also sat out Thursday and would have missed Wednesday if the Bears had conducted a practice. The Bears did not practice Wednesday because of the short week coming off a game on Monday night.

Hester injured his left ankle midway through the fourth quarter of the Bears' win against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday and was unable to finish the game.

"We're still hopeful for Devin," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "It's never good when a player doesn't practice, but if he's ready to go Sunday there is still a chance we'll let him go."

The belief is Hester could still be active on Sunday and handle certain return duties, but regardless, Johnny Knox is expected to see significantly more snaps at one of the outside receiver spots. Although Knox caught just one pass for 14 yards in Philadelphia, the coaching staff has been pleased with Knox's performance and effort level the past couple weeks.

Knox is averaging 18.1 yards per catch in 2001, the seventh-highest total in the NFL.

If Hester experiences any kind of health setback over the weekend, Knox (kickoff) and Earl Bennett (punt) are listed as the backup return men on the Bears' official team depth chart.

"We're confident, but you're right, there is only one Devin Hester, no one has anyone like him," Smith said. "Without him there [possibly], we'll just have another very good returner to replace him. We have other guys on our roster who have scored touchdowns in an NFL game. So we should be OK."

Defensive end Julius Peppers (knee), tight end Kellen Davis (shoulder), defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (knee) and safety Major Wright (ankle) are all probable to face Detroit.

Toeaina's injury might open the door for veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams to be get back into the rotation. Adams was a healthy inactive in Week 9 which snapped a streak of 47 consecutive games played.

The Lions officially ruled out running back Jahvid Best due to a concussion.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.