Chicago Bears Quarterback Justin Fields Returns to Practice After Thumb Injury
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields made his long-awaited return to practice on Friday afternoon, marking his first time on the field since dislocating his thumb on his right throwing hand during the Oct. 15 game against the Minnesota Vikings.
During the portion of practice open to the media at Halas Hall, Fields joined his teammates in stretching and then took warmup throws to receivers while standing alongside practice-squad quarterback Trace McSorley.
Fields, speaking to reporters after practice, revealed that his grip strength is not fully back and he still experiences some pain while participating in a limited fashion. As he and the Bears consider his return, Fields emphasized the importance of determining if he can make all the necessary throws and withstand hits during a game.
While throwing, Fields wore a glove but opted not to wear any additional protection on his injured thumb. He explained that the glove allows him to have a looser grip on the ball, making it easier to throw.
Doubtful Status for Upcoming Game
The Bears have listed Fields as doubtful to play against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Caesars Superdome. Bears coach Matt Eberflus confirmed earlier in the week that Fields would not be playing, paving the way for undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent to make his third consecutive start.
Fields, however, has been mentally preparing to start and is hopeful for a return in Week 10. The Bears are scheduled to face the Carolina Panthers on “Thursday Night Football” next week, presenting a potential opportunity for Fields to make his comeback.
Eberflus emphasized that Fields’ return will depend on his pain tolerance and the functionality of his thumb. The coaching staff will closely monitor his progress and consult with the trainers before making a final decision.
A Challenging Recovery
Reflecting on the injury, Fields revealed that his thumb did not initially hurt severely when his hand hit the Soldier Field grass during a third-quarter sack by the Vikings. However, upon seeing the dislocation, he described the sight as “crazy” and unsettling.
Fields expressed gratitude for not requiring surgery but admitted that sitting out the past 2 1/2 weeks has been tough. Friday’s practice marked his first time throwing since the injury, and he acknowledged that the recovery process has felt longer than expected. Despite his own setback, Fields has been actively supporting Bagent and the rest of the team, fulfilling his role as a supportive teammate.
Positive Assessment of Tyson Bagent
Fields offered a positive assessment of Tyson Bagent, who has stepped in as the starting quarterback in Fields’ absence. Bagent has completed 56 of 80 passes for 477 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and holds a 73.8 passer rating. Fields praised Bagent’s work ethic and performance, highlighting his strong debut against the Raiders and his leadership qualities.
Fields has a strong incentive to return as quickly as possible, aiming to solidify his position as the Bears’ quarterback of the future. Despite facing ups and downs this season, Fields has shown promise, throwing for 1,201 yards, 11 touchdowns, and six interceptions with a 91.6 passer rating in six games. He notably threw eight touchdowns in a two-game span against the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders before experiencing a rough start against the Vikings.
If Fields returns against the Panthers, he will have eight more games to showcase his skills this season. However, both Fields and Coach Eberflus maintain that his status remains “day to day” as they carefully evaluate his progress and make a decision.
Fields remains optimistic, stating that he has been progressing each day but ultimately deferring to the coaching staff’s judgment.