A-Train Ready to Run

Running back Thomas Jones was held out of practice all week because of a sprained big toe and has been downgraded to doubtful, so Anthony Thomas took all the first-team practice reps and is expected to start his first game of the season Sunday.

Thomas had carried the ball just 16 times in the first six games until Jones was injured on the first play last Sunday night, but he stepped in and rushed for 98 yards on 25 attempts and caught four passes for 46 yards.

"Obviously it feels good when you're out there playing instead of sitting on the bench; it's always a positive thing," said Thomas, who was the Bears' featured runner for three years until they acquired Jones in the offseason. "You want to go out there and try to help your teammates when you see guys out there battling. You want to be out there battling with them."

The Bears say they will not alter their game plan, which usually calls for the featured back to get 20-30 touches.

Jones had accounted for 701 yards from scrimmage through the first six games, 44.2 percent of the Bears' 1,585-yard total. Thomas supplied 144 of the Bears' 254 total yards Sunday night, 56.7 percent. In his first six games he rushed for just 48 yards and caught two passes for 4 yards. He was less than thrilled with his inconsequential role, admitting last month that he'd personally be better off traded to another team. But Thomas was there when he was needed.

"Anthony has been a team player the entire time he's been here," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He goes out to the practice field everyday and he works hard. Most of the time when you have that type of attitude you get a chance to play. I've never seen a player who really deserved to play that didn't get a chance to for whatever reason -- whether it's injuries or just something that happens during the course of the year. You have to be ready, he was ready and he answered the call when we called on him."

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