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Matt Nagy: Justin Fields’ health ‘an ongoing discussion’ during Packers week

Fields has been out since suffering cracked ribs against the Ravens in Week 11, and Andy Dalton has started in his place.

Fields hasn’t played since Week 11 against the Ravens.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Justin Fields’ health will be “an ongoing discussion for us all week long,” coach Matt Nagy said Monday, leaving the door open for days of debate over whether the rookie quarterback will start against the Packers.

Fields suffered cracked ribs two weeks ago against the -Ravens and has missed his last two starts.

“We’re never going to put him at risk medically,” Nagy said. “Never. So you can mark that down.”

Fields was limited in practice all last week and wasn’t cleared for the game Sunday against the Cardinals. If he’s cleared this week, Nagy said, “it’s going to be a pain-tolerance deal” for Fields.

“In the meantime, we have to be able to do like we did last week, too,” he said. “Which is kind of prepare on both sides of it.”

Complicating matters is the injured left hand suffered by Andy Dalton in the first quarter against the Cardinals when he tried to make a tackle. Dalton said the injury didn’t affect him the rest of the game. The Bears continued to test Dalton’s hand Monday and were “still working through all that,” Nagy said.

Whenever Fields is healthy, Nagy is curious to see how he has grown.

“I really felt like his confidence was starting to get good out there — at practice, on the field, in himself,” he said. “Then the other part of this, too, is us creating and knowing what his strengths are. . . . So we were kind of trying to find that balance. So if he is able to go this week, and that’s the case, then we have to do a good job with that and understand that.”

Hicks’ injury ‘pretty bad’

The last time the Bears faced the Packers, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks rushed back from a groin injury and appeared in 41% of the defensive snaps.

“It’s hard not to play in that game,” he said in October.

It was no different than him returning from a dislocated elbow specifically to face the Packers in 2019.

Will it happen again? Hicks hasn’t practiced or played since hurting his ankle Nov. 8 in Pittsburgh.

“I know he’s fighting to get back off of this ankle injury,” said defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who has seen Hicks rehabbing in a swimming pool. “It’s been a pretty bad one.”

Rumph said he wants players to get excited about their rival.

“But you don’t want to put a guy out there that’s 50, 60%,” he said. “I don’t know where he is. We’ll figure it out this week. We need a guy that can really go.”

Love to COVID-19 list

Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love tested positive and was put on the league’s reserve/COVID-19 list Monday. Starter Aaron Rodgers will play Sunday — according to NFL rules, he cannot be tested for 90 days after his original positive test. Rodgers tested positive for the coronavirus last month.