Running on empty

As Bernard Berrian made his practice debut on Sunday, another Bear had to leave the field with an apparent hamstring pull. Taking the number of injuries into account, the Bears are starting to wear thin at multiple positions.

Berrian missed the six practices because of a hamstring injury. Considering the third-round pick had a mini-camp and two weeks worth of "Organized Training Activities" he isn't as green as some rookies might be coming back from an injury, but with the amount of competition at wideout he can't afford to fall behind.

"It's hard because you're missing out on reps and those reps are real vital," Berrian said. "A lot of times mental reps don't get it all the time, you need to be out on the field getting those reps so I'm not able to make as many mistakes as I did."

When asked what makes him standout above the rest of the receivers on the team, Berrian didn't hesitate to answer.

"I think I have a little bit more speed than everyone else," he said.

It's uncharacteristic for a rookie to say what's on his mind, especially when he's saying something that could be seen as inflammatory by his teammates.

Still Berrian seems to have the backing of his head coach.

"We think he gives us a different dimension, just flat out speed," said Lovie Smith. "We think he'll fit in good with the group and of course it's good to get him back out there. He made a couple of mistakes today, which most freshmen will do but it's about trying to get him as much experience as we possibly can."

While Berrian returned to the field, there are still several Bears missing and the list seems to be growing on a daily basis.

A day after returning to work, Jerry Azumah helped coach the defense from the sideline, as he's still ailing because of a stinger.

Marty Booker hasn't been able to practice because of a hamstring pull. The same can be said for WR Jamin Elliot, TE John Gilmore and obviously MLB Brian Urlacher. Alex Brown's calf strain has kept him out of action since Thursday. Mike Gandy has been held out with a groin pull. Guard Rex Tucker was held out to rest his surgical ankles.

Anthony Thomas (side) went down on Saturday and took Sunday off. Desmond Clark can now be added to the list of the walking wounded as he appeared to pull his hamstring during Sunday's practice and was wearing a portable leg brace that evening.

Some players that miss time could lose their job or fall out of competition for a starting role because of missed time.

"All of our players who are injured are closer to being better," Smith said.

However Booker does not have to worry about his future with the team.

"Marty is our No. 1 receiver, no question about that," Smith said. "To keep that position you have to get out there and perform. Hopefully we'll have him out there before long."

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