Bears optimistic Briggs will return next week

After more than seven weeks on the shelf due to a shoulder injury, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs could return to action next week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs will miss his seventh straight game this week due to a shoulder injury. Yet coach Marc Trestman said today that Briggs could return to the field next week.

"I'd be optimistic, yes. I'd be much more optimistic that that could happen," said Trestman. "He got more work today and we'll see how he is the first of the week, but it raises our optimism certainly."

Briggs practiced on a limited basis the past two days. His return couldn't come at a better time, as the Bears have dropped to dead last in the league against the run in his absence. Chicago's defense has allowed six straight 100-yard rushers. A seventh straight century mark by a Cleveland Browns ball carrier this weekend would be an NFL record.

Cleveland will be without top ball carrier Willis McGahee (concussion), meaning Chris Ogbonnaya could be the potential record breaker.

"They've been better the last couple weeks. They rushed for over 100 yards last week to my recollection and almost 100 yards the week before, so they are getting some balance in their running game," Trestman said. "Whether their running back starts or not, they have a good back behind him. I can't pronounce his last name and that's no disrespect I just don't want to disrespect his name. He's run at the fullback position, he's run at the tailback position. He's a shifty guy who also can catch the football as well, so he's a well-rounded back."

If Briggs returns in Week 16, he'll be a boost against the Philadelphia Eagles' No.1-ranked rushing attack and star running back LeSean McCoy, who is first in the league in rushing yards (1,305) and yards from scrimmage (1,744).

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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