Bears coach Matt Nagy remains committed to Andy Dalton as his starting quarterback Sunday against the Lions, but only if Dalton is healthy enough to play.
As of Thursday, it appears he is not.
Dalton was limited in practice for the second day in a row because of a bone bruise in his left knee. He exited the Bears’ Week 2 win over the Bengals with the injury and was out last week against the Browns.
The key question on his knee is whether Dalton will be able to move around enough to avoid pass rushers in the pocket. While he is not particularly mobile to begin with, the Bears can’t have him standing back there completely defenseless if someone gets through their offensive line, which happened frequently last week as the Browns racked up nine sacks and six other quarterback hits.
First-round pick Justin Fields took over when Dalton went down, but Nagy would prefer to keep him in a specialized role for the foreseeable future.
Fields is hurt, too, but seems fine playing through the injured thumb on his right hand. He has been practicing with a wrap around his thumb and wrist.
The Bears had him get an x-ray on it after the game Sunday, and it was negative. Fields downplayed the injury and said he didn’t think an x-ray was necessary.
“They’re just being safe and [cautious],” he said. “I’m fine.”
Nagy has wanted to wait as long as possible to decide, and it’s likely he’ll announce a starter Friday after practice based on how Dalton looks.
In his starting debut, Fields completed 6 of 20 passes for 68 yards. In the first game and a half, Dalton completed 73.5% of his passes for 262 yards with one touchdown and one interception.