Jeffery 'getting better' but doesn't practice

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears returned to the practice field Wednesday, and held out rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery, while defensive tackles Henry Melton (back) and Matt Toeaina (calf), and defensive end Israel Idonije (ankle) practiced in a limited capacity.

Jeffery is the only player of the group expected to miss Sunday's game against the Houston Texans, but hasn't been declared out officially. Over the past three weeks, the club officially listed Jeffery as out when it released its first injury report of the week.

"Alshon Jeffery did not practice today," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But he is definitely getting better."

Although there's a slight chance Jeffery could return this week according to sources, it's expected the Bears will hold out the receiver against the Texans as a precautionary measure to minimize the risk of re-injury to his broken right hand, before bringing him back for the Nov. 19 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Jeffery missed the past three games after breaking his hand in the fourth quarter of the club's Oct. 7 win at Jacksonville.

Melton and Idonije, meanwhile, suffered what the club considers minor injuries Sunday when the Bears defeated the Tennessee Titans 51-20 at LP Field. The duo combined in that contest for three tackles, a half sack and one quarterback pressure.

Toeaina, meanwhile, has been inactive for the past three contests, and six overall meaning it's likely the veteran defensive tackle sustained an injury during practice.

Four Texans missed practice on Wednesday, including nose tackle Shaun Cody (ribs), tight end Owen Daniels (back), running back Ben Tate (hamstring) and receiver Kevin Walter (groin). Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (quadriceps) participated in a limited capacity, as did running back Arian Foster (not injury related), cornerback Brice McClain (knee) and defensive end Antonio Smith (ankle).

Houston listed linebacker Bryan Braman (neck), safety Quenten Demps (thumb/forearm) and receiver Lestar Jean (knee) as full participants, in addition to safety Shiloh Keo (back), nose tackle Earl Mitchell (ankle), linebacker Jesse Nading (foot/neck), left guard Wade Smith (knee) and quarterback T.J. Yates (right elbow).