LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — As if Calvin Johnson didn't pose enough problems, Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman is facing another hurdle as the Chicago Bears prepare for the Detroit Lions — a groin issue.
The star cornerback's health is a concern for a team that's suddenly banged up after staying relatively healthy through the first two games.
Tillman said he will play against Detroit after leaving last week's win at Pittsburgh because of tightness in his groin. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Henry Melton suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Steelers, and the NFC North-leading Bears (3-0) are hobbling a bit heading into Sunday's game at Detroit.
The most immediate concern is Tillman, who would figure to be tasked with containing Johnson much of the time. The Bears actually had success against Megatron in recent years, but if their two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is limited or unavailable, they could be in for a rough time even with Lions receiver Nate Burleson recovering from surgery on a broken arm this week.
"The guys that we have available for this game will play," defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. "We'll play our defense. We'll work hard to execute, play fast, smart and physical and we'll play the game."
Tillman vowed he will be playing.
Asked if there's any chance he does not play against the Lions, he said, "No, I'll be there."
He missed practices last week because of knee soreness and left the Steelers game after his groin tightened up. He did not practice on Wednesday, and coach Marc Trestman said he's day to day.
"He didn't work today," Trestman said. "He was on the side and in the training room. He was in early this morning."
If Tillman is limited or even unavailable, that would likely mean a bigger role for Zack Bowman. It would also probably come as a bit of a relief for Johnson.
Few teams have been as successful in containing the Lions' star as the Bears, and a big reason for that is the 6-foot-2 Tillman.
"He's a big strong physical corner," Johnson said. "He's smart. He's seen a lot of football, so he understands some of the concepts probably that we do on offense, so we've got to throw different things at him to get him off balance."
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