Grossman Shaking Off the Rust

Lake Forest - The Bears have the opportunity to amp up the passing game with Rex Grossman back as the starter.

Grossman was the guy taking most of the reps in mini-camps, spring and summer practices and training camp when the offense was being installed by first-year coordinator Ron Turner. Now that Grossman's back after rehabbing his surgically repaired left ankle for four months, the offense can expand more than it did with rookie Kyle Orton under center.

Grossman played the second half last week and will start Christmas Day for the first time in 15 months. Wednesday was the first time since then he got the majority of the snaps with the first team.

"Last week I think he was a little rusty," Turner said. "But he could see he was much more comfortable and confident, and then (he went) in there and played pretty well. He feels good about where he is. We just have to make sure we're smart with what we do with him and understand that he only has had three weeks."

Health Beat

  • SS Mike Brown is listed as questionable after missing two games with a strained calf, but he said he is "highly likely" to play Sunday.

  • FS Chris Harris, who has missed two games with a sprained knee, is questionable but practiced Wednesday for the first time since he was injured on Dec. 4 and looked good, according to coach Lovie Smith.

  • RB Cedric Benson, who has missed five games with a sprained knee but could be back this week, is questionable. He said he doesn't expect his conditioning to be a factor when he returns because he'll probably be No. 3 on the depth chart and revert to his early season role, when he was averaging just a handful of carries per game.

  • LB Hunter Hillenmeyer, who missed all of last week's practices and last Sunday's game because of a fractured thumb, practiced on Wednesday and might be back on the field Sunday, although he'll still be wearing a cast on the thumb and is questionable.

    FB Bryan Johnson (back), safety Todd Johnson (hip), DT Ian Scott (hamstring) and G Terrence Metcalf (shoulder) are all also questionable for Sunday's game against Green Bay. Brown and Scott are the only players who didn't practice, and it's possible all could be back by Sunday.

    G Ruben Brown (chest), C Olin Kreutz (back), WR Muhsin Muhammad (back) and LB Brian Urlacher (finger) all missed practice, but all are probable and will play on Sunday.

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