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LAKE FOREST, Ill.-- It's appearing more likely Jay Cutler might miss Monday night's game at San Francisco with the Chicago Bears kicking off the week of preparation Thursday without the quarterback on the practice field.
Cutler and rookie defensive end Shea McClellin were nonparticipants at practice as they continue to recover from concussions suffered Sunday night against the Houston Texans, while rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery returned to work on a limited basis after missing the past four games with a fracture in his right hand.
"(Cutler) is feeling better, and it normally goes like that," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "You get better each day with an injury, with just how you're feeling. That's why you're optimistic, and you have to take it each day. We're hopeful (Friday) that he'll be better than he is today."
Asked if Cutler can play Monday if he does not practice, Smith said: "As a general rule, we would like for guys to (practice) at least by Friday; get some type of practice work in. But for some of our guys that have been around a while, if we get to game day and they haven't practiced and they feel like they can go, they'll play."
Defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (calf) was also held out of practice.
Smith said Cutler "is getting better," but held out hope the quarterback might play. Smith wouldn't divulge whether Cutler would return to the practice field on Friday.
In Cutler's absence, veteran backup Jason Campbell took all the repetitions with the starters.
"We want to have Jay out there when we can, but Jason is a very good quarterback and he's capable of making all the throws, and doing everything we need to do to win this game," tight end Kellen Davis said. "So I have every confidence in Jason."
Jeffery is on track to make his return after missing the past five games with a fracture in his right hand. He caught 14 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in five games before suffering the injury in the fourth quarter of the team's Oct. 7 win at Jacksonville.