Bears QB Mitch Trubisky doubtful for Thanksgiving game
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DETROIT — Since making his debut in the Bears’ fifth game last year, quarterback Mitch Trubisky hasn’t missed a single snap because of injury. His 22 consecutive starts marked the Bears’ longest streak for a quarterback in 26 years.
That likely ends Thursday.
Three days after Trubisky hurt his throwing shoulder on a late hit by Vikings safety Harrison Smith, the Bears listed their quarterback as doubtful for the game against the Lions.
Chase Daniel, who has only two career starts, likely will play. The 32-year-old has thrown only three passes since making his last start on the last day of the 2014 regular season. Tyler Bray was activated from the practice squad Wednesday to serve as Daniel’s backup.
The Bears have no concerns about Trubisky’s long-term health and know he won’t need surgery, Nagy said this week. He has an AC joint sprain, according to an ESPN report. After what Nagy called a “mini-bye” this weekend, Trubisky has a strong chance to start a new streak Dec. 2 against the Giants.
Nagy said Trubisky wanted to play Thursday. If the game was Sunday, perhaps he could have played. The Bears had only 85 hours and five minutes between the end of Sunday night’s 25-20 victory against the Vikings and 11:30 a.m. kickoff Thursday.
That turnaround is unprecedented. Since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, no team has played a Sunday night game and then a midday Thanksgiving contest.
When Trubisky slid on an option run in the fourth quarter Sunday, Smith hit him in the left shoulder, driving his throwing shoulder into the Soldier Field turf.
Playing it safe Thursday makes sense for a team that needs Trubisky healthy for December games and an increasingly likely playoff run. The Bears showed similar caution in dealing with outside linebacker Khalil Mack and receiver Allen Robinson, who missed two consecutive games with injuries earlier this year.
Daniel steps into an unique situation as the Bears didn’t run a legitimate practice all week, instead holding walkthroughs Tuesday and Wednesday to preserve their players’ bodies.
“This week is a little bit different just because it’s a short week, but I really haven’t changed the way I prepare,” Daniel said Tuesday.
He hasn’t taken a first-team snap all season but instead has run the scout team.
“I’m going against the best defense in the league every day in practice,” he said.
Nagy said Tuesday that this situation is precisely why teams value a veteran backup. The Bears paid dearly for theirs. Daniel, a former Heisman Trophy finalist at Missouri, got a two-year deal in March worth $10 million.
“He has experience,” Nagy said, “and you have trust.”
While Daniel doesn’t offer the same running threat as Trubisky, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said the game plan won’t change drastically with a different quarterback.
“They’re not that significantly different,” Helfrich said. “Certainly, you’re going to tailor things to one person or another, absolutely, but within the same structure. We’re not going to change the offense if something happens. You can’t. You can’t do that. But certainly there are nuances to whoever is in there.”
Bray, who played with Daniel on the Chiefs from 2013-15, said the short week shouldn’t be a hindrance. The vibe in the quarterback room was no different this week than during any other, he said, and Daniel will be fine.
“He’s done it before — he did it in Kansas City,” Bray said. “He’s been around the league . . . He knows what he’s doing.”
NOTES: The Bears ruled out outside linebacker Aaron Lynch and tight end Adam Shaheen, who each suffered concussions Sunday.
They cut cornerback Marcus Cooper to make room for Bray. The veteran, who the Bears cut and re-signed this offseason, is best known for returning a blocked kick last year, only to drop the ball at the goal line. He has appeared in only two games this year.
The Lions ruled out two of their best offensive players, running back Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Marvin Jones, with knee problems. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder), cornerback Darius Slay (knee), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (shoulder) and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (ankle) were among the prominent Lions listed as questionable.