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Bears won’t play starters vs. Colts — and vice versa

Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday that he had decided to bench most of his starters for the preseason game Saturday against the Bears.

Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears
Bears head coach Matt Nagy speaks with a referee during the second half of a preseason game against the Panthers at Soldier Field.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Colts coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday morning that he’d decided to bench most of his starters for Saturday’s preseason game against the Bears.

The Bears decided the same weeks ago. Coach Matt Nagy reiterated Wednesday that his starters — including quarterback Mitch Trubisky — will sit for the second-straight game.

“I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody,” Nagy said. “But, you know, for the most part we’re making sure our guys are staying in shape, they’re conditioned and that sort of thing.”

The Bears dismissed their backups toward the end of Tuesday and Wednesday’s practices and ran their starters through football and conditioning drills.

“Physically they should feel pretty good right now,” Nagy said. “But you then you want to — you always have a concern as a coach — to make sure that you’re conditioned for any reps that you’re not getting.

“Our guys have really handled that well, they’ve been true professionals about this whole process. They understand it and if this is the route that we’re going to choose to go as the Chicago Bears then they need to give us everything they’ve got in practice.”

Nagy said he wasn’t sure if he helped start a league-wide trend last year — “Each team is different,” he said — but Reich told reporters the rest of the NFL is starting to sit its starters.

“To be honest, it’s a little bit hard for me to let that go,” Reich told reporters. “I’ve got a lot of years of Week 3 being the dress rehearsal and your ones playing a significant amount of time. Now, I have been leaning away from that as far as the amount of time. We have pretty much always gone about a quarter, but now I feel like we are in good health.”

Injury updates

Pro Bowl defensive lineman Akiem Hicks did not practice Wednesday for undisclosed reasons. Nagy spoke before practice, and did not mention his absence.

Fellow linemen Eddie Goldman and Jonathan Bullard returned to practice Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s session with a personal reason and an illness, respectively.

The Bears are still monitoring Trey Burton in the wake of his offseason groin surgery, but Nagy said the tight end is “right on schedule — if not probably a little further along than what we thought when we were doing this.”

Receiver Anthony Miller, meanwhile, has yet to return to practice after spraining his ankle a week-and-a-half ago but is “in a good position, health-wise,” Nagy said.