The Chicago Bears are approaching Sunday’s showdown with the Detroit Lions uncertain over the status of at least one of their stars.
Wide receiver Devin Hester missed his third straight practice Friday due to an ankle sprain and has been listed as questionable on the injury report.
”There’s only one Devin Hester,” coach Lovie Smith said. ”No one has anyone like him. Without him there, we’ll just have another very good returner to replace him. We have other guys on our roster who have scored touchdowns in an NFL game, so we should be OK.”
Johnny Knox would replace Hester on kick returns and Earl Bennett is his backup at receiver should the injury continue to be a problem.
The Bears had defensive end Julius Peppers and safety Major Wright back at practice Friday for the first time this week and both are probable for Sunday’s game. Peppers suffered a knee sprain Oct. 10 against Detroit but continued to play and aggravated the injury Monday night in Philadelphia. Wright has an ankle sprain.
Also Friday, Smith said rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi underwent arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee.
Carimi has missed six games since he dislocated the knee against New Orleans on Sept. 18. He practiced last Thursday but has sat out since after experiencing pain in the knee.
Lance Louis has started the past three games at right tackle, and the line has shown dramatic improvement. The Bears are coming off a win at Philadelphia on Monday in which Jay Cutler did not get sacked.
Smith said Carimi would not go on injured reserve at this time, although he didn’t have details about the extent of the damage uncovered by the procedure.
”Right now I just know he’s not going to play this week and he may be out a while,” Smith said.