Bears QB Miller questionable with tendinitis

Things have gotten so bad for the Chicago Bears health-wise that starting quarterback Jim Miller showed up on this week's injury report, out of the blue, following a bye week.

Miller is questionable with tendinitis in his right elbow and shoulder, but he expects to start Sunday against the Lions at Detroit.

"I think you can manage it," said Miller, who has taken all but one offensive snap this season. "Guys have gone through it through a season. So I think it's something that can be done."

The injury is nothing new, but it's gotten progressively worse the past couple weeks.

"It's something that flared up a little bit on Monday," Miller said. "It's not something that just happened. It's happened over a period of weeks now.

"On Monday it did not feel good after we got done practicing. I just thought I got hit a couple of weeks ago and, 'All right, hey, it's sore.' I've been playing with it, and I didn't say anything.

It's just you just do those things. Then, lo and behold, you get an MRI, and hey, you've got tendinitis. Here I was thinking I was a wuss or something. But I've had two days now to rest it, and it feels better. We'll come out (Thursday) and maybe toss a little bit, and Friday will probably be the crucial day."

Coach Dick Jauron said he could withhold a decision until as late as Sunday. If Miller can't go, 15-year veteran Chris Chandler would get his 138th NFL start, and his first with the Bears. The offensive scheme would remain the same.

"Me and Jim are fairly similar in what we do," Chandler said. "I think we'd like to get rid of the ball, get it out of our hands, rather than have to do any running. And I think in the framework of this offense, we're a couple of guys suited for this style of offense. It's being smart, it's being able to throw the ball accurately."

Contrary to some misconceived notions, Miller has thrown the ball well this season. His passer rating of 84.4 is tied for sixth in the NFC - with long-time teammate and current Redskin Shane Matthews. Miller's 10 TD passes are fourth best in the NFC, and he has been sacked just six times.

Chandler said any criticism of Miller is unwarranted, but both he and Miller understand it's an occupational hazard.

"That's what happens," Chandler said. "When you win as a quarterback, you get too much of the credit, and when you lose you usually get too much of the blame. I think he's done a really good job this year, but unfortunately he's in a position where the quarterback takes a lot of the heat when things aren't going the way everyone wants them to. I've been on both sides of that."

In 1998 with Atlanta, Chandler went 15-1 as the starter, including the playoffs, before losing to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. His passer rating of 100.9, the best of his career, included 25 TD passes and just 12 interceptions. Last season he experienced a different reaction from home fans anxious for the Michael Vick era to begin.

"It was no fun last season," Chandler said, "playing home games and having a percentage of fans booing you because they don't want to see you on the field only because they want to see Michael running around."

Unlike in every other week since the season began, Chandler got to work with the first team offense. Jauron's staff normally allows the No. 1 quarterback to take all the snaps with the No. 1 offense, while the backup runs the opponents' plays all week.

"The work I'm getting is going to be good if something comes up Sunday," Chandler said. "At this point, it's too early to tell, but I think we're all expecting Jim to be there."

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