Bears’ Roquan Smith misses practice

Coach Matt Nagy said the absence was not injury-related and he expected Smith to play Sunday against the Lions.

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Roquan Smith and the Bears face the Rams (4-2), Saints (3-2) and Titans (5-0) the next three weeks.

Roquan Smith celebrates against the Rams.

Kyusung Gong/AP

Inside linebacker Roquan Smith, who’s on pace for an All-Pro season and has performed like the Bears’ best player, did not participate in practice Friday. Coach Matt Nagy said the absence was not injury-related and he expected Smith to play Sunday against the Lions. Guard Alex Bars also was not at practice. Like Smith, Bars didn’t have an injury designation.

Given the coronavirus outbreaks across the NFL and the country, the most immediate question asked of Nagy was whether their absences were related to COVID-19 or contact tracing.

Nagy wouldn’t say.

“I can’t get into all that,” he said. “I apologize. Just so you all understand, I don’t know what I can and can’t say.”

By rule, the Bears must put anyone who’s confirmed to have tested positive or has been a close contact on the reserve/COVID-19 list. They did not make a transaction Friday.

Teams often send tests to the NFL’s lab overnight if they believe they have a positive point-of-care test. If a player is found, to have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, the NFL mandates he stay away from the team for five days.

Even without Smith and Bars having an injury designation, the injury report was the most notable of the season for the Bears. They listed nine players — many of them stars — as questionable.

Star edge rusher Khalil Mack practiced for the first time after sitting out all week with back issues. The Bears said his absence was precautionary and they expect him to play. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who hurt his hamstring and Achilles’ tendon against the Vikings, practiced in a limited fashion for the second day in a row.

Quarterback Nick Foles practiced in full again after hurting his right hip against the Vikings. The Bears expect him to serve as Mitch Trubisky’s backup.

Receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney both turned up on the injury reportwith knee injuries. Mooney didn’t practice, and Robinson was limited after getting hurt during practice Friday.

Nagy said he didn’t believe Robinson’s -injury was serious, but he needed more information.

“With that coming up in practice, it was something that we wanted to make sure that we’re trying to be smart with,” he said. “And make sure that we’re staying more on the conservative side and being precautionary with both of those guys.”

Anthony Miller, the Bears’ remaining healthy starter, raised concerns of a different sort when asked what needed to happen for the offense to click Sunday.

“The plays that we practice and that we execute in practice all week, they need to be called when we get to the game on Sunday,” he said. “We know we can execute them, we just, everybody just needs the chance to ball out.”

Charles Leno (toe) and Germain Ifedi (calf), who were the Bears’ starting tackles against the Packers, were limited in practice but seem on pace to face the Lions. Outside linebacker James Vaughters (knee) and inside linebacker Josh Woods (foot) are questionable, too, after Vaughters didn’t practice Friday.

The Lions’ injury report also is fraught. Receiver Kenny Golladay, a St. Rita and Northern Illinois alum, will miss his fifth consecutive game with a hip injury. Running back D’Andre Swift is questionable with an illness after having a concussion. Cornerback Jeff Okudah, the Lions’ first-round pick, will miss his second game against the Bears, this time with a shoulder problem.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford is -questionable because of a thumb injury, but he practiced all week and played with the same injury against the Texans.

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