Bushrod returns, hopes to play Friday

Jermon Bushrod participated in individual drills for the first time in a week Monday after injuring his right calf. AP Photo/Scott Boehm

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod returned to practice Monday after missing approximately a week with a right calf strain.

Bushrod participated in individual drills at the onset of the workout but sat out 11-on-11.

"It's getting there," Bushrod said. "I didn't want to come out here and push it too hard, but I got a good feel. It feels good to get the pads on and get back out here with the guys. But it feels good to be one step closer to being 100 percent."

The two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman said his "goal" is to play Friday night in the Bears' preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers, but both Bushrod and Bears coach Marc Trestman are expected to err on the side of caution.

"I don’t think it’s out of the realm that he would play on Friday night but he would have to be 100 percent for us to even think about playing him," Trestman said. "There is no need to push this. We’re going to be very patient. Doctors will tell us the condition he is in. We'll evaluate on Thursday and Friday morning and see where we’re at.

In other injury news, wide receiver Earl Bennett was not present at the beginning of practice. Bennett left practice early on Saturday night due to concussion-like symptoms.

Defensive end Julius Peppers (hamstring), cornerback Kelvin Hayden (hamstring) and linebacker D.J. Williams (calf) are all sidelined.

Also, starting defensive tackle Stephen Paea dressed for practice on Monday but experienced tightness in his hip. The Bears held Paea out for the bulk of the workout for precautionary reasons. Trestman said later he does not believe Paea's injury to be serious and believes there is a reasonable chance Paea could return to action on Tuesday.

However, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Eric Weems, offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), defensive lineman Jamaal Anderson (knee) and rookie defensive end Cornelius Washington (elbow) are practicing despite recent ailments.