Justin Fields Injury: Andy Dalton Takes First-Team Reps in Practice

Fields returns to practice, but Dalton takes first-team reps originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

By Adam Hoge

The Arizona Cardinals are going to have to wait at least another day for any type of clarity on the Bears’ quarterback situation this week.

Prior to Wednesday’s practice at Halas Hall, Bears head coach Matt Nagy said rookie quarterback Justin Fields (ribs) would return to practice, but then later revealed that Andy Dalton would take the first-team reps.

There might be some gamesmanship involved, but it also appears to be a legitimate pain tolerance issue for Fields, who suffered cracked ribs against the Baltimore Ravens 10 days ago.

“They’re working through all that right now. We know that. They know that, the opponent,” Nagy said. “For us, right now, with Andy being able to come out here and get these reps today, it’ll allow us to really continue each day to see, Justin, where you at? What’s your pain today?”

Even a limited practice is a step in the right direction for Fields, who missed the team’s Thanksgiving game in Detroit last week and was limited to side work in a shortened practice on Monday.

“Obviously for us right now we gotta make sure that medically he’s in a place where he’s safe and, as we work through that, it’s important for him to continue to grow off of that momentum that he had those last couple games,” Nagy said.

In other words, the Bears need to make sure Fields is healthy enough to play well and continue to develop, which won’t be easy in a tough test against an aggressive Cardinals defense Sunday at Soldier Field.

The Bears did not make Fields or Dalton available to the media Wednesday, citing the desire to see how practice goes first. The starting quarterback typically talks on Wednesday.

Nagy has made it clear that Fields is the team’s starting quarterback if healthy. That means he wasn’t healthy enough to be the starter on Wednesday, even if he was able to practice in a limited capacity.

“If you put him out there, is there a risk to more injury and how does that go? I don’t know how all that works with the percentages of more stuff happening to it but I just know when we listen to our doctors and we listen to Justin with any pain that he would be going through, we wanna make sure we’re smart for him and for us too, making the right decision,” Nagy said.

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