Noots' Notes: Week 14 Injury Analysis

Michael Nudo breaks down the bumps and bruises by taking a close look at Friday's final injury report, as the Chicago Bears take on the hated Green Bay Packers in Week 14 at Soldier Field.

Chicago Bears

Player Injury Status
WR Devin Hester Calf Questionable
OT Orlando Pace Groin Questionable
LB Lance Briggs Knee Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer Groin Probable
DT Israel Idonije Knee Probable

Green Bay Packers

Player Injury Status
LB Jeremy Thompson Neck OUT
DT Ryan Pickett Hamstring Doubtful
DE Johnny Jolly Knee Questionable
LB Nick Barnett Knee Probable
OT Chad Clifton Hamstring Probable
TE Jermichael Finley Knee Probable
DE Cullen Jenkins Hamstring Probable
DT B.J. Raji Ankle Probable
CB Charles Woodson Shoulder Probable

Bears Offense vs. Packers Defense
Tight end Desmond Clark has missed significant time this season due to a disk issue in his neck. Clark is a well-rounded player and has been especially missed in some protection schemes, where Greg Olsen has failed to deter edge pass rushers and blitzes. The Bears expect Clark to return to action against the Packers. Chris Williams flipped to left tackle last week with Orlando Pace out (groin). Kevin Shaffer played well at right tackle in his first start of the season. If Pace is ready to go, the decisions to be made will be interesting. Should Williams remain at the position for which he was drafted? Is Shaffer the Bears' best run-blocking tackle? If so, can they afford to sit him? Wide receiver Devin Hester left last week's game with a calf injury. The Bears are hopeful he can return, but he has had a hard time getting back to practice.

The Packers placed pass-rushing linebacker Aaron Kampman on injured reserve this week (knee). Brad Jones, who has started three of the last four games on the outside, registered a sack against the Ravens on Monday. Veteran cornerback Al Harris was lost for the season due to a knee injury prior to Thanksgiving. Tramon Williams has been starting for him. Nose tackle Ryan Pickett is nursing a hamstring. If he is limited or cannot play, it will mean more opportunities for rookie B.J. Raji. Raji, Johnny Jolly (knee) and Cullen Jenkins (hamstring) are all a bit dinged. Linebacker Nick Barnett continues to get extra rest for his knee issues. He's expected to play.


WR Devin Hester
Getty Images: Jonathan Ferrey

The Packers have the league's top-ranked defense in terms of yardage allowed and are in the top five against both the run and pass. The player to keep an eye on is rookie Clay Matthews, who has four sacks in the last four games. The Bears have been trying to run the ball with more frequency to stay away from costly turnovers. Green Bay has 21 interceptions, bolstered by their four thefts against Jay Cutler in Week 1. Look for the Bears to play it closer to the vest Sunday at Soldier Field, as well as setting up play action to work against Tramon Williams.

Packers Offense vs. Bears Defense
Left tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring) was able to return to the starting lineup on Monday. T.J. Lang, who has played for Clifton at times this year, is recovering from a concussion. Tight end Jermichael Finley is nursing a sore knee. He and Donald Lee have combined for 65 catches, 645 yards and four TDs. Mark Tauscher is back at right tackle, where he'll give Adewale Ogunleye a better challenge than Allen Barbre did in Week 1.

Weak-side linebacker Lance Briggs (knee) is expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday. Jamar Williams excelled in his place last week (20 tackles, two passes defensed) and may see some action against Green Bay in a different position. Middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer has been slowed by a groin injury but is expected to be ready for action. Williams might spell Hillenmeyer given his injury. Israel Idonije and Tommie Harris missed some practice due to knee problems but should be fully ready to go for Sunday.

Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 45 times but has only thrown seven interceptions and has still managed to complete over 65 percent of his passes. Those numbers are outstanding considering the pressure he has faced. For the Bears to win, they'll need to get pressure from their front four alone and then slow down the Packers' wideouts with jams and tight coverage, thus giving the rush the time to work. If the Bears continue to play soft coverage on Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, it will be yet another long afternoon.


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Michael Nudo writes his Injury Analysis feature during the season every week for BearReport.com. E-mail him at mr.noots@live.com.


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