NFC North at night

Let's review a few news tidbits on a Tuesday that is more like a Thursday and Friday for half of our division:

Chicago Bears: We've already reviewed the latest turn in the Bears' quarterback soap opera this week. We'll know if they've claimed and/or been awarded quarterback Kyle Orton at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Earlier, ESPNChicago.com reported that starter Jay Cutler will undergo surgery on his right thumb Wednesday in Vail, Colo.

Detroit Lions: Tailback Kevin Smith, two weeks removed from his return to the NFL, appears on track to regain his starting job Thursday against the Green Bay Packers. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports that Smith was working with the first-team offense Tuesday in practice. Receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Corey Williams (calf) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (thigh) did not practice. Johnson and Williams are expected to play Thursday. Running back Jahvid Best (concussion) and punter Ryan Donahue (quadriceps) are expected to be out.

Green Bay Packers: Running back James Starks (knee/ankle) participated in a limited portion of practice. It's still not clear if he'll be able to play Thursday against the Lions. Receiver Greg Jennings (knee) was a limited participant in practice but should play. Linebacker Frank Zombo (hamstring) was a full participant.

Minnesota Vikings: In a court appearance Tuesday, cornerback Chris Cook's attorney said he plans to argue self-defense against charges of felony strangulation and assault after an incident with his girlfriend. The attorney said the victim has recanted part of her story, namely that Cook tried to strangle her. The trial was scheduled for March.