Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte expects to play Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys after missing a game because of a sprained right ankle.
The Pro Bowl player practiced Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in a loss at Green Bay on Sept. 13. He sat out last week's win over the St. Louis Rams.
He responded, ''Uh huh, yeah,'' when asked if he expects to play against the Cowboys.
Forte went through individual drills Wednesday and said he felt ''pretty good.''
''I can sprint. So I think I'll be good to go,'' he added.
Coach Lovie Smith tempered the optimism a bit, saying Forte is ''making progress every day ''
''I would hold off on ...'' Smith said, his voice trailing off. ''He's got a long ways to go, still. But he is making progress, and hopefully we can get him out there.''
Either way, the fact that Forte was back practicing was a good sign for the Bears.
He went to the locker room midway through the third quarter against Green Bay after he appeared to twist his right ankle while being tackled by Charles Woodson, leaving Chicago without one of its top players in a game.
That was a big blow for an offense that was already struggling after an impressive opener against Indianapolis, and things weren't much better last week. The defense came to the rescue, leading the Bears to a 23-6 win over the Rams.
Forte, meanwhile, said he didn't think he would miss much time because the ankle didn't swell up much last week.
''That's the big part,'' he said. ''When the swelling is big, it takes a long time to get it out, but I didn't really swell up so I knew I'd be back pretty soon.''