Chicago Sun-Times

Hester, Steltz look unlikely to play Sunday

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With Devin Hester missing practice for the third consecutive day on Friday it looks less likely he will play Sunday.

Of course, coach Lovie Smith has allowed players who have not practiced during the week to play in the past, and he'll do the same with Hester if he's ready. The issue is that Hester's torn rib cartilage could potentially be made worse if he goes out and reinjures himself.

"There is [danger] every time you come out on the football field,'' Smith said. "We won't put anyone who isn't healthy out on the football field. But if he is ready to go, we'll always let our players go. But if they're not, we'll do whatever we can to protect them. It's a long year.''

Rookie safety Craig Steltz is also unlikely to play. Steltz missed practice for the second consecutive day with a sprained right ankle that he is believed to have suffered on the field Wednesday.

The Bears have until Saturday afternoon to make a roster move if they want to fill the spot vacated by Brandon McGowan, who is out for the year. But if they were going to add a practice squad player, the move probably would have been made now. Whether Steltz's situation has an impact on the decision, we'll see.

Steltz figured to have a role in McGowan's absence on special teams at least. He did not dress for the first two games but he was the logical choice to be promoted as McGowan was a four-phase contributor on special teams. Stay tuned.

*** Referee Tony Corrente's crew will handle the game Sunday. He was the referee during Super Bowl XLI.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on September 19, 2008 1:10 PM.

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