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Five injured players return to practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on December 19, 2012 – 4:02 pm

As they prepare for Sunday’s must-win game in Arizona, it appears that the Bears are getting healthier.

Five players who sat out last weekend’s loss to the Packers with injuries practiced on a limited basis Wednesday: receiver Earl Bennett (concussion), linebacker Geno Hayes (knee), cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) defensive end Shea McClellin (knee) and defensive tackle Henry Melton (chest).

“We’ll need everybody this week,” said coach Lovie Smith. “We know what’s at stake for this game.”

Jennings’ return would be huge; he continues to lead the NFL with a career-high eight interceptions.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be able to go this week,” Smith said. “Having a guy come back with eight interceptions and just the type of play that we’ve gotten from him would give us all a boost, and not only him. There’s a chance we could get a few guys back that all have impressive numbers, like a Henry Melton and guys like that.”

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher and right tackle Jonathan Scott did not practice due to hamstring injuries.

Asked about Urlacher’s timetable to return, Smith said: “He’s getting better, but with hamstrings it’s just hard to say exactly when you will get back. I just know that he’s here and with some of the things he’s doing it’s better than what it was before. It’s pretty hard to come back from a hamstring injury in a week or so.

“That’s why we need to play good football this week against Arizona and just buy time for him to get back.”

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