Troubling signs

Injuries weren't a problem last year they were an epidemic. While the team is relatively healthy in their last week of training camp there are signs of problems ahead.

Marc Colombo's status has been a topic of discussion since the start of camp. Now his chances of playing before the season starts are unlikely.

"I'm not a doctor, but he hasn't practiced at all with us in our June camps or in this camp," said head coach Dick Jauron. "So, I would say it's unlikely but the way this thing has progressed, Marc and the doctors could say he's fine in two weeks a week."

There has been talk of putting Colombo on the Physically Unable to Perform List, which would mean he couldn't be activated until after Week 6.

"They don't talk much to me much about that stuff," Colombo said. "I come to practice every day work on my knee and hopefully every day is better than the next. I ran today and it felt pretty good. I just got to keep at it and hopefully we'll knock out this last cycle.

When and if Colombo returns he'll have to play his way back on the field.

"Aaron (Gibson) is our starter right now, so if Marc returns he's going to have to earn that job," Jauron said. "He's going to have to go through Aaron to get it back. And hopefully Marc comes back soon and can compete for it. But, we definitely don't want anybody on the field that's not healthy, that's at risk out there."

In five NFL seasons, Aaron Gibson has spent time with three teams. For the first time in his career he's healthy and comfortable.

"The way things are going I'm just trying to go out there every day and make coaches happy and get the respect of my teammates," Gibson said. "I never doubted myself, I just had a lot of injury problems. Lucky they have gone away."

Unfortunately, the Bears are starting to look like the walking wounded.

Terrence Metcalf had screws put in his broken middle finger and will be out at least two weeks.

Todd Johnson, who suffered a broken jaw in the preseason opener, had his mouth wired shut. His injury will take longer to heal and will reevaluated in four weeks.

John Davis had a disk removed and we'll be evaluated again in two weeks.

Bryan Knight is getting a second opinion on his knee. He's traveling to New York Wednesday, but is expected back at camp Thursday.

Jauron is optimistic about Knight's return.

"I don't think it's going to be anything that keeps him off the field very long," Jauron said. "I'm hoping he comes back and practices on Thursday."

In the meantime, rookie Lance Briggs is getting reps with the first team defense at strong-side linebacker.

"We thought that Lance (Briggs) did a nice job playing, a little bit lost at times but he plays hard," Jauron said of Briggs' performance against the Colts. "We think that he has the ability to play at this level. He definitely showed up on the field when he was out there. Special teams, defensively he did some nice things. So, Lance would get a chance to step up."

Rex Grossman had a difficult day of practice. The quarterback bobbled a center exchange, fumbled an attempted handoff and threw an interception.

The Bears secondary has been active in the first two days of practice this week. The unit has picked off several balls, something that was absent last year. The defense finished with just nine interceptions, which tied for the lowest output in the league.

With the addition of Charles Tillman, Todd Johnson, a healthy R.W. McQuarters and a more experienced Jerry Azumah, the secondary looks to be deeper. However, that doesn't always calculate to more production.

"We have a little bit more depth but we're going to have to see them perform," Jauron said. "You always think you have to that depth and then it's called on, as it was a year ago, and it didn't prove to be there."

The Bears secondary loves to talk when they're on the field. It doesn't matter if it's Mike Brown, McQuarters or even the rookie Tillman, comments fly as often as the ball goes in the air.

The friendly competition between the group is centered on one thing.

"As a secondary we're trying to get more interceptions," McQuarters said. "We might go through film and say he had two today or he had one today, but we don't really keep count."

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