WR Jeffery’s progress is ‘very encouraging’
LAKE FOREST – After a four-game absence because of a hand injury, rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery appears to be on track to return Monday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jeffery participated fully in practice Friday at Halas Hall and reported no lingering effects from his injury, which he sustained Oct. 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jeffery caught several passes from Jason Campbell during the portion of practice open to media members.
“We’re very happy to see him out there,” Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. “He hasn’t had any setbacks, and he’s taking his reps. It’s very, very encouraging.”
The Bears could use Jeffery to complement No. 1 target Brandon Marshall, who caught eight passes last week against Houston while no other receiver caught more than two passes. Jeffery caught 14 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns before his injury in Week 5.
Next man up: In addition to ruling out Jay Cutler for Monday’s game, the Bears confirmed that rookie defensive end Shea McClellin also would sit out because of a concussion.
Smith did not reveal which player would join the active roster in McClellin’s place.
“We have a couple of options,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said.
It’s possible that the Bears could dress an extra defensive tackle such as Amobi Okoye, who has been inactive for the past three games while Nate Collins has played. The Bears also could activate defensive end Cheta Ozougwu for the first time this season to provide depth behind Julius Peppers, Israel Idonije and Corey Wootton.
Feeling better: San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh returned to practice one day after undergoing a procedure because of an irregular heartbeat.
During a conference call with Bears reporters, Harbaugh said he was feeling much better.
“Full-go,” said Harbaugh, who played for the Bears from 1987-93. “It was an irregular heartbeat where they had to do a little procedure, a ‘cardiovert,’ to get it back normal. It’s amazing that they have a procedure like that that gets back to normal. So, I’m feeling good.”