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Bears' Forte expects to play

LAKE FOREST – Matt Forte showed no signs of a lingering ankle injury as he sprinted down field during a drill in practice Thursday at Halas Hall.

About two hours later, Forte showed no hesitation when asked whether he expected to play this weekend against the Seattle Seahawks.

“I do,” Forte said.

A one-word answer would have sufficed, but who could blame Forte for feeling chatty?

Forte has proved to be a quick healer during his tenure with the Bears, and it appears this week is no different. He said he has worked with specialists and slept in a hyperbaric chamber this week to speed his recovery from an ankle injury he suffered last weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.

Barring a setback before Sunday’s game, Forte will run behind a new-look offensive line that will feature Edwin Williams at left guard and Gabe Carimi at right guard.

“It doesn’t change my approach at all,” Forte said. “I’ve just got to trust those guys up front.”

Coming along: Nick Roach quickly deflected a question about how he would grade his performance in his sixth season with the Bears.

“I like how our whole defense is playing,” Roach said.

Whether or not he admits it, Roach is coming off his best game of the season in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings. He registered seven tackles and forced a fumble against Adrian Peterson that was recovered by teammate Charles Tillman.

In 11 games at strong-side linebacker, Roach is seventh on the team with 38 tackles.

“My plan is just to stay consistent with the opportunities [I] get,” Roach said. “You've got to try and make the most of them. Sometimes, it goes better than other times.”

Health beat: Devin Hester (concussion) and Chris Spencer (knee) were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks because of injuries.

Neither move came as a surprise after both players missed their second consecutive practice Thursday. Eric Weems has received the bulk of the work in Hester’s role, while Williams has practiced with the first team at left guard in place of Spencer.

Meanwhile, Forte was one of four players who practiced on a limited basis Thursday. The others were Lance Briggs (ankle), Kellen Davis (ankle) and Charles Tillman (ankle).

“They made a lot of progress,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Hopefully, they’ll continue to do that.”

Linebacker Brian Urlacher also received the day off because of a coach’s decision.


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