Bears get Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins, Equanimeous St. Brown back vs. Lions; Chase Claypool questionable

All four starters missed the game against the Bills last week.

SHARE Bears get Cody Whitehair, Teven Jenkins, Equanimeous St. Brown back vs. Lions; Chase Claypool questionable
A photo of Bears coach Matt Eberflus on the sideline during warmups.

The Bears are 3-12 in Matt Eberflus’ debut season.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Bears quarterback Justin Fields is finally getting some help. There’s a good chance he’ll get two starting offensive linemen and two of his top wide receivers back when he faces the Lions on Sunday.

Left guard Cody Whitehair practiced in full and is expected to return from a knee injury after missing one game, and right guard Teven Jenkins is ready to come back from a strained neck.

Those are the Bears’ best two linemen, so that should strengthen the protection.

Assuming the line can keep him upright, Fields needs passing targets. Those are on the way, too, with the expected return of wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and possibly Chase Claypool. Brown practiced in full Friday and was expected to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol by the end of the day.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus listed Claypool as questionable and wouldn’t give any hint on whether he is likely to play, but Claypool said he was doing “everything” to be available. He missed the last two games after twisting his knee in the Dec. 4 game against the Packers.

He has just 12 catches for 111 yards since joining the Bears in a midseason trade, but is the best playmaking threat still standing. He averaged 55.9 yards per game and scored 13 total touchdowns over the 2020 and ’21 seasons with the Steelers.

Getting Claypool and St. Brown back would offset the potential loss of wide receiver Dante Pettis, who hurt his ankle in practice Thursday and was limited Friday. He is questionable against the Lions.

St. Brown is fourth on the team in catches with 18 for 300 yards and a touchdown, and Pettis is behind him at 17 catches for 226 yards and three touchdowns.

As one of the most senior players on the team at age 30, Whitehair didn’t necessarily have to hurry back from his knee injury. But he gave no thought to shutting himself down.

“The season hasn’t gone like we wanted it to, but this team has a lot of pride,” he said. “And next year at this time, these games are gonna mean something for us, so going to a place like Detroit — and they’re still in it, so it’ll be like a playoff environment — will be good for us going into next year.”

It has been an arduous season for Whitehair, who went on injured reserve in October with a knee injury, was out against the Bills with a separate one and has missed a total of five games. He played 99 of a possible 101 games to begin his career.

After all that, Whitehair said he is fully healthy and won’t need surgery in the offseason. He is under contract with the Bears through 2024

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