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Bears OLB Pernell McPhee toughs out knee injury vs. Broncos

The Bears are a better team with outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, but they monitored his play time Sunday against the Broncos because of his left knee injury.

“Yeah, the last couple weeks we had some guys playing good,” McPhee said after the Bears’ 17-15 loss at Soldier Field. “Earlier in the season, my legs got a little worn out. Coach did a great job and was like trying to ease me back in since I missed the last two weeks of practice. He did a great job.”

At one point, McPhee had his left knee wrapped in ice after struggling to the sideline. But he promptly removed it for the next defensive series.

Still, McPhee’s lightened workload was obvious, and the Bears missed his typical tenacity and production. He essentially became a situational pass rusher. Press-box statisticians credited him with just one tackle. He was on for only 38 of the Bears’ 69 defensive plays.

McPhee, who sat out last week’s game in St. Louis, said his knee was “kind of sore” during the past two weeks, but he isn’t worried about having only three days off before facing the Packers.

“I’m good,” McPhee said. “I’ll be back Thursday. … I don’t have any knee problems. With how I’m feeling right now, I’m good.”

This and that

>> Running back Matt Forte (knee), wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (groin, shoulder) and safety Antrel Rolle (knee, ankle) were inactive. Forte did some extensive pre-game work, which included sprints.

>> Center Hroniss Grasu (neck) started at center. Matt Slauson moved back to left guard, replacing Vladimir Ducasse

>> The Bears did not commit a penalty for the first time since Dec. 24, 1995 (against the Eagles). Linebacker Christian Jones was called for holding, but it was declined.

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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com