Bears coach Lovie Smith said injured running back Matt Forte ''is making a lot of progress'' but will not play against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Soldier Field. Michael Bush will replace him in the starting lineup.
Forte, who suffered a sprained ankle against the Packers, has rushed for 111 yards on 23 carries (4.8 yards per carry) with one touchdown this season. Bush has rushed for 96 yards on 26 carries (3.7 per carry) with two touchdowns.
''No doubt we feel comfortable with Michael Bush,'' Smith said. ''Michael's excited about playing, too. When you're a running back, you want to get reps. I can't think of a running back that's ever had too many carries. He's excited about it, as is Armando Allen, Kahlil Bell. All those guys are ready to go.''
Smith reported no other injured players for the Rams game. Brian Urlacher (knee) and Julius Peppers (foot) participated in Friday's light workout.
It's an opportunity that Bush has been waiting for. He started the final nine games of the 2011 regular season with the Raiders, gaining 740 yards on 196 carries (3.8 yards per carry) with four touchdowns.
''Everybody likes starting,'' Bush said. ''But I knew I was giong to play regardless of whether he was in or not. As long as I have a chance to play, I'm fine with that.''
Still, he acknowledged being eager to erase the stigma he seems to have as a short-yardage, situational rusher.
''Hopefully I can get people to get that knock off me about not being an every-down back,'' he said. ''I can't please everybody. It's a business. It is what it is. You dno't like me, so what? I'm going to keep playing hard.''