Briggs targeting Dec. 22 return date

LAKE FOREST, Ill -- The Chicago Bears have ruled out weakside linebacker Lance Briggs (fractured shoulder) for Sunday, but coach Marc Trestman believes the seven-time Pro Bowler is on the mend and could return Dec. 22 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Briggs will miss his seventh straight game when the team travels to face the Cleveland Browns, but he practiced this week for the first time since fracturing his shoulder in the Bears’ loss to the Washington Redskins on Oct. 20.

Briggs was officially listed as limited on Thursday and Friday.

“I’d be much more optimistic next week that he [could return],” Trestman said. “He got more work today, and we’ll see how he is doing at the start of next week. But it raises our optimism, certainly.”

Bears safety Major Wright said Friday that the defense is eager to welcome back Briggs. The Bears rank No. 27 in total defense and No. 32 in rushing defense. Briggs recorded 75 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and nine tackles for loss before the injury.

“It’s always fun having Lance around,” Wright said. “We enjoy his leadership and his demeanor. It’s great having him back out there with us running around. We definitely have to get it going and Lance can definitely help a lot.”