Justin Fields is expected to start Sunday for the Chicago Bears when they face the Detroit Lions, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
The Bears quarterback has missed their past four games after suffering a dislocated thumb in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. Tyson Bagent assumed the starter's role in Fields' absence and led the team to a 2-2 record.
Fields has practiced over the past week and his ability to grip the ball was one of the biggest obstacles in determining whether he'd be ready to play again.
"Is he comfortable?" Bears quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko asked. "What is his pain tolerance? Is he getting back to where he is? Is his rhythm there? Is it coming off his hands smoothly? And what’s the ball look like when it’s coming out? Is it coming out with any flap at all or is it coming out nice and smooth and looks like him?"
Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said that after Fields goes through team drills Wednesday they will make a final determination on Fields' playing status for Week 11.
Justin Fields and Nate Davis were full participants at practice today. pic.twitter.com/ZCl3n5ohQY
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) November 15, 2023
These final seven weeks will give the Bears' brass an opportunity to determine whether Fields will be their guy under center going forward. Chicago will likely have two very high picks in next spring's NFL Draft, possibly even the No. 1 overall selection thanks to last March's trade with the Carolina Panthers. Will they continue building around Fields or try their luck with the incoming rookie quarterback crop?
"I think seven weeks is enough time to show consistency and being the high performer that we expect him to be," Eberflus said Wednesday. "I know he's had some good performances along this year, certainly the last few have been solid. We expect consistency out of all our positions."