The Chicago Bears beat the Carolina Panthers 16-13 on Thursday night without starting quarterback Justin Fields, who missed his fourth consecutive game with a dislocated right thumb.
Undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent, out of Division II Shepherd, won for the second time in four starts. He passed for only 162 yards, but he didn’t throw any interceptions after tossing five in his prior two games.
The Bears believe Fields will be able to return for their next game, at Detroit on Sunday, Nov. 19.
The Panthers played without sack leader Brian Burns (concussion). They hope to have him back when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 19.
There is news galore regarding wide receivers. It’s a mixed bag for the Cincinnati Bengals, who will be without Tee Higgins but should have Ja’Marr Chase. The San Francisco 49ers expect the return of Deebo Samuel to their suddenly sagging offense, while Stefon Diggs surprisingly popped up on the Buffalo Bills’ injury report Friday.
Here are injury updates from our NFL Nation reporters as we head toward the Sunday matchups:
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Injury: Back; hamstring
Chase is questionable to face the Houston Texans, but there’s plenty of optimism about his status. Coach Zac Taylor said he thought Chase looked good Friday, and Chase is preparing as if he’s playing. He was a limited practice participant Thursday and Friday. Higgins is out for Sunday’s game after suffering a hamstring injury Wednesday. Look for Trenton Irwin and Andrei Iosivas to get more reps with Higgins out for at least a week.
— Ben Baby
After not being listed on the injury report Thursday, Diggs was added after he was limited in practice Friday. The Bills have another day of practice before playing host to the Denver Broncos on Monday night. Diggs has not missed a game because of injury during his four seasons in Buffalo.
— Alaina Getzenberg
Injury: Shoulder; ankle
After missing almost all of the past three games, Samuel will be back for the Niners on Sunday in Jacksonville. Samuel returned to practice on Monday and was a full participant in all four sessions the Niners held this week. Samuel said Thursday that he isn’t going to try to make up for his absence in one week, but expect him to have a big role again now that he’s back on an offense that has sagged to 17 points per game over the past three games after averaging more than 30 in the first five weeks.
Williams has missed the past two games after playing through an ankle injury in Week 6. The Niners hoped the bye would get him fully back to play Sunday against Jacksonville, but Williams is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Thursday and Friday. In fact, coach Kyle Shanahan called Williams “real questionable” on Friday, which means he could be a true game-time decision depending on how he feels after a long flight. If Williams can’t play, the Niners will turn to Jaylon Moore to replace him again.
— Nick Wagoner
Mitchell is listed as questionable, but he was a full participant in Friday’s practice, which means he’s trending toward playing. The biggest problem for the undrafted rookie has been durability, and he likely won’t be at full strength. Mitchell delivered a breakout game Sunday, when he rushed for 138 yards. There’s a chance he will supplant Justice Hill as the No. 2 back behind Gus Edwards. Asked about Mitchell’s role going forward, Ravens offensive coordinator Todd Monken said: “With any player, when you get your opportunity, you take advantage of it, and that leads to more opportunities.”
— Jamison Hensley
The Steelers will be without their star safety for the second week in a row after he injured a hamstring against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Without Fitzpatrick, the Steelers will again use a combination of players to absorb his responsibilities, including using cornerback Patrick Peterson at safety for some snaps, something Peterson said this week that he has always wanted to do in his career.
— Brooke Pryor
Even though he was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, the expectation is that Conner will play against the Atlanta Falcons. He came off IR this week, which opened a three-week window to practice but with how he has looked in the open portion of practice and with Kyler Murray returning, Conner’s return is imminent.
— Josh Weinfuss
After missing last week, London is good to go and not expected to be on the injury report. He told ESPN earlier this week that the groin is much better than a week ago — and by Thursday he practiced in full.
Meanwhile, receiver Mack Hollins (ankle) is out for Sunday against Arizona. His role could be filled by KhaDarel Hodge or Van Jefferson — both in the receiving game and as a gunner on special teams.
— Michael Rothstein
Injury: Concussion; ribs/oblique
Osborn went into the concussion protocol after a hit that left him motionless on the field Sunday at Atlanta. But he recovered quickly enough that he was standing in front of the locker room doors to congratulate players and coaches after the game, and he has sailed through most of the stages of the protocol. He participated in at least some of every practice and was a full participant Friday. He is officially listed as questionable and will have to get clearance from multiple doctors before he is eligible to play Sunday, but there is a much better chance of that happening than it appeared in the moments after his injury.
Hockenson is definitely still affected by his rib/oblique injury but said Thursday that he is pretty sure he’ll play Sunday. “That’s the plan,” he said.
— Kevin Seifert
Samuel injured a toe vs. Philadelphia two weeks ago, did not play at New England last week and was limited in practice this week. Jamison Crowder replaced him as the slot receiver. However, Samuel is expected to play at Seattle.
— John Keim
Injury: Right knee
Coach Doug Pederson said it would be a long shot if Jones were to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, and late Friday he was ruled out. Jones was originally hurt in Week 2, missed two games and returned and caught a touchdown pass against Buffalo on Oct. 8 before leaving after reinjuring his knee. The Jaguars have compensated for his reps with Tim Jones and Jamal Agnew, but neither has Jones’ field-stretching ability. The hope is that Jones can return before December.
— Michael DiRocco
Douglas, who has led the team in receiving over the past three weeks with 14 catches for 134 yards, has been limited all week in practice after popping up on the injury report for the first time Wednesday. He had declined to talk about the injury during a group interview with reporters Thursday before the team departed for Frankfurt, Germany. In the media-access portion of the Patriots’ lone practice in Germany on Friday, Douglas didn’t seem to be as active as other receivers.
— Mike Reiss
Injury: Knee, shoulder
With Jones’ injury, the Browns will be without their top three offensive tackles as they face the Baltimore Ravens. That includes Jones, Jack Conklin, who is out for the year with a knee injury, and left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., who went on IR this week with a knee injury. Backup tackle James Hudson III will play a key role somewhere. He has experience at right tackle. The Browns could move All-Pro left guard Joel Bitonio to left tackle, as well. But at this point, it’s unclear what the Browns will do.
— Jake Trotter
Miller has missed only three games in his six-year career and but he has not practiced yet this week. If Miller cannot play against the New York Jets, the Raiders could either elevate his backup, Justin Herron, to protect rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell ‘s blind side or slide right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor, who started at left tackle in Miller’s place one game last season. If they move Eluemunor over, Thayer Munford Jr. could start at right tackle, though he has been battling neck and knee injuries of late, or even the recently re-signed Brandon Parker.
— Paul Gutierrez
His window was opened this week to come off injured reserve, and he expressed that his expectation is to be activated for Sunday’s matchup vs. the Dallas Cowboys after missing four games with a high ankle sprain. Ojulari was a limited participant in practice this week and is officially listed as questionable. His return should be a boost to the Giants’ pass rush, taking some of the pressure off Kayvon Thibodeaux on passing downs.
— Jordan Raanan
Murphy-Bunting was ruled out for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Murphy-Bunting injured his thumb against the Falcons. He played only eight snaps last week after re-aggravating the injury in Pittsburgh. Bucs receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are a tough matchup for any team.
— Turron Davenport
Alexander sustained a shoulder injury late in last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams and did not practice all week. He’s listed as doubtful but is not expected to play. It wasn’t that long ago that defensive coordinator Joe Barry said they have “champagne problems” with all the options they had at cornerback. Since then, Rasul Douglas got traded and Eric Stokes got hurt. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ struggling offense may find it easier to throw against the likes of Carrington Valentine, Corey Ballentine and Robert Rochell.
— Rob Demovsky
Injury: Shoulder, ribs
Turpin has been coming on as a punt and kick returner the last few games and caught a touchdown pass last week vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. He ran for a touchdown against the New York Giants in the opener. Officially, he is questionable and the Cowboys will take his availability to the 90-minute mark for inactives. If he can’t play, then look for Deuce Vaughn to serve as the punt returner and Rico Dowdle to return kicks.
— Todd Archer
Injury: Knee; knee
Downs is considered questionable, but he hasn’t practiced at all this week since re-aggravating the injury in the first half of last Sunday’s win at Carolina. The Colts are particularly thin at the position and might have to turn to Isaiah McKenzie at slot receiver.
Franklin, the NFL’s leading tackler, missed a rare game last week but seems likely to return against the New England Patriots. The Colts turned to backup Segun Olubi in Franklin’s absence, but after a limited practice on Thursday and full participation on Friday, Franklin seems a good bet to suit up.
— Stephen Holder
vMiller had only two touches last week, one being a 31-yard reception, before he left with an ankle injury that kept him out of practice all week. Miller, who would’ve entered this week as the third running back behind Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams, has been declared out for Sunday’s game.
— Katherine Terrell