Miller Expected to Start

Lake Forest – Despite suffering a broken jaw less than two weeks ago, it appears Fred Miller will start at right tackle for the Bears on Sunday against the Panthers.

Miller practiced three straight days with the injury and head coach Lovie Smith is confident the 10-year veteran will be ready to go against Carolina LE Julius Peppers.

"It looks that way," Smith said. "He's had three good days of practice, so I don't see anything else coming up between now and then to tell us otherwise."

The Bears were able to rush for 172 yards against San Francisco without Miller in the lineup, but the offense will need all the help it can get Sunday facing the second ranked rush defense in the league.

The Panthers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season, while the Bears have produced one in five of their nine games.

The biggest question will be when Miller takes a hit to the jaw, which is bound to happen over the course of the game.

Ready or Not
Receiver Airese Currie could be elevated to the 53-man roster in time for the game against the Panthers. The rookie has spent the entire season on the non-football injury list and the team has until Tuesday to place him on Injured Reserve or the active roster.

The five-foot-11, 185-pound speedster looked to be on track to playing against the Saints two weeks ago, but suffered a pulled hamstring in his first practice with the team. This week Currie retuned to practice and took a few reps with the first team offense.

The Bears have been lacking a speed threat opposite Muhsin Muhammad since Mark Bradley suffered a season ending knee injury and Bernard Berrian had thumb surgery. It's unlikely Currie could become an every down contributor this season, but he would upgrade the speed at the position.

"He's looked very good," Smith said. "He's got good speed and quickness, getting him into the mix and he's been paying attention as far as the mental part of the game. So hopefully things continue to progress that way and we'll have a good decision to make then."

Coming Along
Rex Grossman ran with the scout team during seven-on-seven drills for the second straight day. He's still limited with his lateral movement, which means it would be difficult for him to escape an opposing pass rush in the pocket.

"We let him throw in a situation where he wouldn't have to (leave the pocket)," Smith said. "But he's been able to drop back a little bit. That's the first step. Next week we'll try to pick up the tempo a little bit more, but we're just pleased with that."


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