Podlesh won't rule out punting in opener

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The odds of Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh returning for the regular season opener seemed to improve on Wednesday when the veteran kicker was listed as having limited participation in practice.

"We haven't ruled that out yet," Podlesh said about punting in Week 1. "That's still on the table, but it's still to be seen (if it happens). But things are going well so far.

"The training staff has me on a progression right now. It was a good day today. It felt good. Being limited today that's what they wanted me to be at. We'll progress from there, but things are going well."

Podlesh was observed punting the ball while dressed in full pads during the open portion of practice. This marked the first time the media had seen Podlesh punt a football since he suffered a left hip flexor injury in the Bears' second preseason game against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18.

"When you practice on a Wednesday there is a chance you can go (in the game)," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "We'll monitor him still and see how he performs (Thursday), but he's been making steady progress to say the least."

The Bears carried a second punter -- rookie Ryan Quigley -- on the 53-man roster for insurance purposes until Podlesh's injury is no longer a concern.

Free safety Chris Conte (shoulder) was also limited, according to the official injury report.

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) had full participation and defensive tackle Stephen Paea didn't even appear on the report after he missed the last few weeks of the preseason with a sprained ankle. Paea said he practiced earlier in the week without any restrictions.

The only player to sit out Wednesday's workout was running back Lorenzo Booker, who continues to be sidelined due to a head injury he sustained last week in the Bears' preseason finale. The Bears likely planned to have Booker active to participate on special teams on game days, so it will be interesting to see what the club decides to do in the event Booker is out.

One option would be to bring back Kahlil Bell, who is still looking for a job after the Bears waived him in the preseason for reportedly refusing to accept a pay cut. Another possibility might be to activate Armando Allen from the practice squad, although special teams is not considered to be Allen's strength.