On the Mend

Lake Forest - The Bears were able to win their second game of the year with Thomas Jones playing through a knee injury and forty percent of the offensive line inactive. There's a chance the unit will be at full strength when the Ravens come to town.

Jones carried the ball 23 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. It appears he came away from the workman type performance without further problems with his sprained knee.

Tackle John Tait and guard Ruben Brown were both spectators in the Bears 28-3 victory over Minnesota, but could return this week. Tait's trying to heal from an ankle sprain suffered during an interception return against Cleveland, while Brown has a partially torn pectoral muscle.

"We ask the guys to play with pain. We'll never ask anyone to play with an injury," said head coach Lovie Smith. "But pain you expect guys to go with that. It shows your toughness and things like that."

Brad Maynard netted just 36.6 yards per punt, but was playing with a calf injury that limited his ability to get hangtime on his kicks.

"It probably affected it a little bit but he was able to get through in the game," Smith said. "We expect a lot out of him. He's played at such a high level, that we expect to put it inside of the 10-yard line every time with a great hang time. A couple of the punts weren't like that but he made it through and hopefully he'll be OK for this week."

Banished to the Bench?
It appears DE Michael Haynes could have a tough time getting on the field. He was inactive for the first time in his three-year career against the Vikings and his replacement Israel Idonije had a sack late in the contest and also graded out well on special teams.

"As we look at all of our backup positions, they need to play and contribute on the special teams," Smith said. "(Sunday) we made the decision to go with Israel Idonije and I'm glad we did. He was our top point getter on special teams."

Haynes was the 14th pick in 2003, but was selected for the previous defensive system. In the current speed emphasized scheme he's struggled to get snaps. In limited playing time behind both defensive end starters, he's accumulated eight tackles, including one solo.

"We're not displeased with Michael Haynes but there's only so many guys that can dress," Smith said.

The trade deadline is 3 p.m. today, but it's unlikely the Bears would make a move with Haynes because of the salary cap implications.

Leading Man
WR Muhsin Muhammad has paced the Bears in receptions every game this season. He has 27 catches, but is averaging a career low 11.0 yards per touch and has only reached the end zone once through five games.

Although Mark Bradley had just one reception in his second NFL start, TE Desmond Clark emerged as a potential second option for QB Kyle Orton. Despite missing the last two days of practice with flu-like symptoms, he had his first two-touchdown game of his career.

An additional threat in the passing game would help take pressure off Muhammad to be a one-man show.


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