Chicago Sun-Times

Marion Barber and Devin Hester do not practice Friday

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Bears receiver Devin Hester isn't giving up on Sunday's game, even though coach Lovie Smith said it's "not looking real good."

"There's still hope. I got time," said Hester, who didn't practice this week.

He noted that the Bears don't play until Sunday night. But he said he doesn't know how much his ankle has improved just by walking. Instead, he'll have to test it in warm-ups at Lambeau Field.

Officially, he's listed as questionable, which means there's a 50-50 chance he plays. The Bears, though, ruled Jay Cutler and Matt Forte out for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers and listed running back Marion Barber as doubtful.

Smith said he was "concerned" about Barber and Hester, which will test the depth of the team at running back, receiver and on special teams.

"Two key players for us. Have a little bit of time still before the game. But it's not looking real good," Smith said of Hester and Barber. "Besides that, we're in pretty good shape. We're excited to get the opportunity to play on Christmas night, when everyone will be watching."

Kahlil Bell will likely get the start, barring a miraculous recovery from Barber. But while Bell's played well, unheralded Notre Dame rookie running back Armando Allen will also get some chances to play.

"When you get an opportunity like this right here, it's exciting but, most important, it's all God's plan," Allen said. "It's definitely a blessing."

Asked about Allen, Smith said, "We like him, a lot.

"Had a chance to see him, primarily on our look squad. But what we've seen is a guy with a lot of quickness and speed. Bright eyed. Guys, just excited about this opportunity, when you haven't gotten a lot of time. You realize opportunities like this don't always come around, so you're just ready to make the most of it."

In fact, if Hester doesn't play, Allen may also be handling kickoffs. Earl Bennett will handle punts, if Hester cannot play.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on December 23, 2011 1:19 PM.

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