Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s likely absence against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium was complicated by yet another key injury — wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not practice Thursday because of a sore knee after being limited in practice Wednesday.
Bears coach John Fox said the team is keeping close tabs on the situation, which remains fluid.
“It’s something we’re monitoring,” Fox said. “We’ll see what [Friday] brings. Obviously it didn’t go as well from yesterday to today. We’ll see what happens [Friday].”
The timing of Jeffery’s latest injury couldn’t be much worse. With Cutler missing practice again Thursday because of a sprained right thumb, Brian Hoyer is expected to start against the Cowboys and surely could use a receiver with Jeffery’s catch-radius to increase his margin-for-error.
Jeffery leads the Bears with nine receptions for 201 yards, including a 54-yard catch against the Texans in the opener and a 49-yard reception against the Eagles. In fact, with a 29-yard catch against the Texans, Jeffery has three of the Bears’ four longest pass plays — and each has led to the only offensive touchdowns the Bears have scored in the first two games.
When Cutler and Jeffery missed the same game with injuries last year, the Bears barely tried to move the ball downfield in a 26-0 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. With Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, the Bears gained 146 total yards, just 48 net passing yards and punted on all 10 possessions.
Houston on IR
The Bears put outside linebacker Lamarr Houston (torn left ACL) on injured reserve. Cutler and Jeffery were among seven players — six of them starters — who did not practice. Also out were linebacker Danny Trevathan (right thumb), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (high left ankle sprain), safety Adrian Amos (concussion), nickel back Bryce Callahan (concussion) and reserve running back Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring).
Another seven players were limited in practice Thursday: outside linebacker Willie Young (knee), left guard Josh Sitton (shoulder), cornerbacks Tracy Porter (knee) and Kyle Fuller (knee), right tackle Bobby Massie (toe), defensive tackle Will Sutton (elbow) and safety Chris Prosinski (calf).
Barkley … making progress
In anticipation of Cutler not playing Sunday night, newcomer Matt Barkley was promoted from the practice squd to the 53-man roster Thursday.
Barkley, who was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 5 after he was cut by the Cardinals, has played in four NFL games — all in a reserve role — but none since 2014 with the Eagles. He is 30-of-50 for 300 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions for a 43.7 passer rating.
“He’s getting there,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “To say he’s ready to go digest the entire game plan and play well and execute it would be an overstatement at this point.”
Rookies of the week
Of the 24 rookie quarterbacks to start Weeks 1 and 2 since 2000, the Eagles’ Carson Wentz is on of only three who have started 2-0 — and the first since the Jets’ Mark Sanchez in 2009.
The Cowboys’ Dak Prescott (no touchdowns, no interceptions) and Wentz (three touchdowns, no interceptions) are the only quarterbacks in that group without an interception in his first two games.