Bears starting to get healthy

The Bears offense is ranked 31st and the unit could use any type of boost, which could come in the form of <!--Default NodeId For Chris Villarrial is 722172,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:722172]>Chris Villarrial</A>. The guard practiced for a second straight day and has been upgraded to questionable on the injury list.

When Villarrial went down in the season opener with a sprained MCL in his left knee he was expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks, but if he plays Monday against Green Bay he'll have missed just over three weeks.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Villarrial said Thursday. "I'm just getting the rust off now and just getting confidence back in my leg."

The fact the Bears are opening the new Soldier Field, playing a division rival and it happens on national television on Monday Night Football.

"Any time you play Green Bay it's a challenge," Villarrial said. "It seems like it's a playoff game because the intensity is that much higher. The rivalry is there, the tradition is there. It's going to be exciting to go out there and get our first win against the Packers. It would be nice to get the first win there at Soldier Field."

While Coach Dick Jauron has been hesitant to say that Villarrial will play on Monday, the guard said he's confident he'll be in the starting lineup.

"Well Chris is really a good guard," Jauron said. "So, nothing against certainly Corbin (Lacina) or anybody else that played in there but Chris is our guy."

Villarrial's return should have a trickle down effect on the entire unit. While there is a chance Lacina could move to the left side in place of Steve Edwards, the more likely option is to relegate him to back up duty. In the meantime, Terrence Metcalf continues to practice with the team as he returns from a broken finger that has kept him out since August 9.

"It'll force some decisions later in the week, but we're happy with the situation at least we're starting to get a little bit healthy there," Jauron said.

Olin Kreutz should also benefit from the return of his compadre.

"I think it will take a little bit of pressure off of Olin to just help on one side and not get as many things communicated as he has," said offensive coordinator John Shoop.

Bobbie Howard has also been upgraded from doubtful to questionable with a hamstring injury. Mike Gandy missed practice Thursday because a knee problem and has been listed on the injury list as probable, but he's expected to return to work Friday. Scott Sanderson took snaps at left tackle in Gandy's place and as the team's swing tackle is the seventh lineman active on game day.

Both teams come into the match-up with two losses and a third before turning the calendar over to October could mean an early end to the season.

Although the Packers have dominated the Bear for a decade, winning 18 of the last 22 meetings including nine straight at Soldier Field, the team is 3-1 under Jauron coming off a bye week.

"It's going to be an electric night and we've got to perform, we're going to have to perform really well to have a chance to win against this team," Jauron said. "We needed the bye. We're trying to get guys ready to play in a lot of spots and I think its helped us and now we've got to take it on the field you know when we get there on Monday night an d really perform."

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