LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears control their playoff destiny and their best defensive player appears to be on track to return this week.
That would be Lance Briggs.
The Bears remain optimistic he will be ready to play at Philadelphia after he practiced Wednesday on a limited basis.
The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker is trying to work his way back from a small fracture in his left shoulder and help the Bears lock up a playoff spot that appeared to be slipping beyond their reach just a few weeks ago.
That's changed in a big way. And they could be getting a big lift, assuming Briggs returns.
"We'll see where he is," he said. "It's still day to day. Like I said to you the other day, I'm optimistic he'll play. How much? We'll see how he feels. I'll be able to better answer that question after Friday's practice and it may even go into Sunday. He did get some work today and I did talk him afterwards and he said he felt pretty good, so we'll see where he is tomorrow."
Briggs declined comment Wednesday.
The Bears held receiver Brandon Marshall out of practice because of soreness in his quadriceps and hamstring, but Trestman said he'll practice Thursday.
Briggs, meanwhile, looks like he's on track to play against the Eagles, a major boost for a struggling defense and for a team that controls its playoff destiny after back-to-back victories.
The Bears lead the NFC North at 8-6, with Green Bay (7-6-1) and Detroit (7-7) trying to stay in the race. The division belongs to the Bears if they win their remaining games against the Eagles and Packers, and they could wrap it up this week with some help. A Bears victory plus a Lions loss or tie and a Green Bay loss would do the trick.
Getting Briggs back certainly wouldn't hurt, although conditioning could be a factor given his long layoff and the Eagles' fast tempo.
He hasn't played since Oct. 20, when he was injured at Washington. The Bears initially thought he would miss about six weeks, but the recovery has taken longer.
Without him, the defense has suffered in a big way, particularly against the run, and the Bears are staring at the league's leading rusher this week in LeSean McCoy.