Backfield in Motion

After Anthony Thomas' performance against the Bengals there was little doubt who the Bears should start at running back. The rookie, who is averaging over 6.5 yards per carry, sat out of practice today with a left toe injury. However, Dick Jauron said Thomas would start Sunday if he's healthy.

"If Anthony's toe comes along like we think it will, then Anthony will start the game on Sunday," Jauron said.

Thomas injured his toe in the first half of the game on Sunday, but was able to rush for 188 yards despite having turf toe.

"Its significantly better than it was on Monday or Tuesday and he feels like he'll practice tomorrow and we'll just have to see when he comes back out," Jauron said. "We anticipate he will to, but we won't know until tomorrow."

Thomas said he has had turf toe throughout his football career, but has always been able to play with the pain.

With Thomas getting the bulk of the carries Jauron said he still plans to rotate running backs, thus James Allen still has a role in the offense.

Allen, who has seen his attempts slowly decrease, said he isn't thinking about starting at this point, but believes his time will come.

"I want to play I mean that's how it is. When you're not playing as much as you'd like you have to try to stay in to it as much as you can because I love to play its not for no other reason. Its not for starting, its not for anything else that comes with it just wanting to play. When my playing time comes back around then I'll be all right."

Allen has fought for a starting role since joining the Bears in 1997. He finally won the job last year and looked to build on 1,000-yard performance this season. However, this season he is averaging less than three yards per carry. Allen wants to play, but he knows Thomas has been the more productive back so far.

"I can't be frustrated because Anthony is playing well. It would be different if he wasn't playing well, but right now he's playing good offensively they are doing a lot of things with him in the game. So, it's all about staying into it (the game) mentally."

Jauron said Allen played well against the Bengals despite rushing for just 17 yards on seven carries.

"Quite honestly in the game in Cincinnati I thought James made some tremendous five-yard runs. I mean some plays that weren't blocked very well. The first 1st down of the game that was really a good run that wasn't blocked particularly well. His protection was excellent, so I wouldn't say James is the loneliest guy on the team. He's a big part of our team and he knows that. We've never said anything different about running the ball we're going to run it with two running backs right now, because that's where we are. And James will get a chance. And if James is the hot guy he'll get the ball. You know he'll get the ball and that could happen, but obviously Anthony is the hot guy right now, so all we've done is flip them for the time being. James will certainly have his chances to contribute on Sunday and I know he'll be ready."

Injuries Mounting:
R.W. McQuarters also missed practice Wednesday with a groin injury. Although Jauron expects the cornerback to be ready Sunday, McQuarters is listed as probable for the game

McQuarters would return punts if he plays.

"We anticipate that he will, but I also think David (Terrell) or Leon (Johnson) either one of them could go back and do it," Jauron said. "We're very comfortable with them the way they catch the ball in practice. Of course, Leon's done it in the NFL either way we'll just have to see how he is."

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