LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall plans to test his injured ankle at practice on Friday, with the expectation of playing Sunday night in a pivotal road game versus the San Francisco 49ers.
Both Marshall and fellow wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) were injured in the Bears’ 23-20 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills, although Marshall did manage to re-enter the game and finish with eight catches for 71 yards and one touchdown. But Jeffery (five catches for 71 yards) missed the final 32 snaps of regulation and overtime.
Marshall and Jeffery failed to practice on Wednesday and Thursday, prompting many to wonder if the Bears may be without the talented duo in Week 2.
Marshall tried to alleviate some of those concerns on Thursday afternoon.
“Hey, I’m going to go down swinging. I’ll be out there Sunday,” Marshall said. “That’s what I’m saying, but of course I’m not the head decision-maker here. But I’m going to be out there in my mind, and I’ll be ok.
“Sometimes your body tells you no and your mind has to be a little bit stronger. I was able to fight it off the second half, do some things. I felt a little more comfortable today then I did in the second half. I still have a few more days of healing to go, get out there tomorrow and test it out. It will be ugly and it’s going to be sore and it’s going to hurt. But you’ve got to show the team and the coaches that I can at least be in position.”
Durability is never a problem for Marshall. The five-time Pro Bowl selection missed only five games in eight-plus years in the league. Marshall’s last regular-season absence occurred in 2010 when he played for the Miami Dolphins.
“Brandon will work tomorrow. We’ll see where he’s at,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said. “We’ve got Saturday the entire day out there. We’ll see where we are. Brandon knows the plays but certainly we want to be safe out there and we want to be healthy as well.”
However, Jeffery’s availability for Friday’s practice is unknown.
“I can't answer that and again, I've tried to be consistent with the fact that I'm not the doctor or the trainer,” Trestman said. “He did not practice today at all. Whether he will at all tomorrow in any or limited fashion, I don't know at this time.”
Further complicating matters, receiver Josh Morgan’s groin injury has apparently taken a turn for the worse. Morgan practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday, but skipped the entire workout on Thursday.
In addition to wide receiver, the Bears are dealing with serious injuries along the offensive line. High-ankle sprains sidelined starting center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson for the second consecutive day, prompting Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola to once again handle the reps with the first team.
Quarterback David Fales (shoulder) and fullback Tony Fiammetta (hamstring) round out the large group of Bears players who missed Thursday’s practice. Both Fales and Fiammetta were on the club’s inactive list for Week 1.