The Bears went through most of preseason and training camp basing their work on the idea of getting all their players healthy heading into the season opener with the Los Angeles Rams.
They failed. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman is doubtful for the game with an ankle injury suffered in practice on Monday. Goldman missed practice Wednesday through Friday, and while he has not been ruled out on the week's final injury report it's extremely rare for a player to go from doubtful to starting in the game.
The best way for this to happen is if he first is able to do something on the ankle on Saturday to the extent that he's upgraded to questionable.
The Bears do have a little more time than normal for Goldman to be ready since the game is not played until Sunday night.
"And so we'll see how it goes tomorrow and see where he's at," coach Matt Nagy said Friday. "If he gets better tomorrow or Sunday and that whole deal that would be good for him, and if he's not that'll give an opportunity for other guys below him to you know play a little bit so that's where we're at with him."
This most likely would mean playing time at nose tackle for defensive end Bilal Nichols.
"The good thing about playing on the D-line here is that all of us train for all positions," Nichols said. "Just in case anything ever happens, we have versatility."
Nichols played end or five-technique in the Bears defense last year but also moved into the nose because Goldman opted out.
"As far as playing the five-tech versus the nose, as a five-tech you have a little more space out there on the outside, you have a little bit more room to work with versus when you're inside at the nose, everything happens a little bit faster," Nichols said. "You've got guys on you a little bit faster, so you've got to be really precise in how you shoot your hands, your targeting, the way your feet move. Your feet can't be slow."
Every other Bears player should be available, several having practiced on a limited basis at times this week. Eight players were listed as questionable but they're all expected to play after all of them went through a full practice on Friday. The only one of them who didn't was safety Tashaun Gipson due to a back injury, but he was able to practice on a limited basis.
Outside linebacker Khalil Mack (groin) and wide receiver Darnell Mooney (back) are questionable but expected to play. Outside linebacker Robert Quinn (back) also is expected to play and is listed questionable.
Other players who are playing but are listed as questionable after full practices Friday were linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe (shoulder), safety Deon Bush (shoulder), safety Eddie Jackson (wrist) and long snapper Pat Scales (ankle).
Rams tight end Ben Skowronek is doubtful with a forearm injury and was limited in Friday's practice. The Rams have no one else on the injury report.