Bears-Lions: Injuries Could Play Key Role

The Bears have been frustrated by injuries to quarterback Rex Grossman the past three seasons, but the Lions have their version of the story in wide receiver Charles Rogers.

Rogers, who has been plagued by injuries in his first two seasons with the Lions, is hurting again, but his latest injury appears to be much less serious that the broken collarbones that limited him to five games in his rookie season and three plays of the season opener last year.

Rogers sat out the team's Thursday workout with a sore ankle but returned to the field Friday and is listed as probable for the game Sunday at Chicago, and coach Steve Mariucci is hopeful he will play.

"He hurt his ankle in our last game and he tried to practice (Wednesday) and he did practice (Wednesday)," Mariucci said, "but we wanted him to calm down today so hopefully he'll do something (Friday)."

Despite his injuries, the Lions have insisted that Rogers is not fragile. Just unlucky.

He broke his right collarbone in a bye-week practice after making 22 catches for 243 yards and three touchdowns in five games after the Lions drafted him with the No. 2 pick in the first round of the 2003 draft.

He worked his way back into shape, sailed through 2004 training camp unscathed and then broke the same collarbone on the third play of the season opener at Chicago last year.

The ankle injury apparently is not as serious, but it once again raises the question of whether Rogers - in spite of adding about 10 pounds to get up to 218 - is built to take the rigors of a 16-game NFL season.

Mariucci indicated he is optimistic about Rogers' chances for a quick return, although admitting Rogers might have felt some uncertainty after missing two seasons with injuries.

"I suppose there is some anxiety that would go along with it," Mariucci said. "He made it through the (Green Bay) game and he's healthy other than that ankle. That will calm down and he'll be ready to roll."

  • The Lions are somewhat on the spot deciding what they will do for a kicker while 14-year veteran Jason Hanson recovers from what he refers to as a "slight tear" of his right hamstring. He has spent most of the week resting and getting treatment for the injury suffered in the Lions' season opener against Green Bay.

    They brought in four kickers - Wade Richey, Remy Hamilton, Todd France and Tyler Jones - for workouts and eventually signed Hamilton to the practice squad.

    It's unclear if Hanson is unable to kick short field goals and extra points - as he did after the injury in the first quarter of the season opener against Green Bay - if the Lions will consider getting by with punter Nick Harris handling kickoff duties and field goals.

  • LB Teddy Lehman, who suffered a sprained knee in practice nearly three weeks ago, returned to practice Thursday and it appears likely he will play in the Lions game Sunday at Chicago.

  • OLB Alex Lewis did not practice all week because of an ankle injury he suffered in the Lions' season opener against Green Bay. Coach Steve Mariucci indicated Lewis won't play if he is not able to practice before the game Sunday at Chicago.

  • RG Damien Woody has been limited by a shoulder injury in practice this week but it appears likely he will play Sunday in the Lions' game at Chicago. Woody, a former Pro Bowler, is the team's best run blocker, an important element if they hope to move the ball via RB Kevin Jones against the Bears tough run defense.

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