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Improvement for Justin Fields

The broken ribs Justin Fields suffered have improved enough so he could take part in individual work at practice but Andy Dalton continues to work with the first team as quarterback.

The Bears will go through a week of trying to keep the Arizona Cardinals guessing at quarterback.

It's more of a guessing game now with Andy Dalton taking first-team snaps than last week because on Wednesday Fields was able to go through a limited practice for the first time since suffering broken ribs against Baltimore on Nov. 21.

"I think he's done good," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "I think he's in a good place. Every day he's trying to get a little bit better. That's the main focus."

The value in not letting the Cardinals know for sure who will play seems minimal when an injury as painful as broken ribs enters into the equation. Still, it isn't like prior to the Thanksgiving Day win when Fields was only able to watch without throwing.

"It’ll allow us to really continue each day to see like, 'Justin, where are you at?" Nagy said. "You know, like 'What's your pain today?' Andre (Tucker, trainer), as you're working with him, how is it when you're throwing? And then each day we just gotta say, 'Ok, once you go through the day of practice, how ever much it is, we've got to be able to say, 'OK, for us going into it, is this something that we feel that he's gonna be the best he can be for us to help win us that game. Or is it gonna hurt him more or hurt us? And so we're kind of as the week goes on, we're working through all that."

Nagy has said safety enters into it, so the key is whether they can keep the injury protected from more damage if he's playing in addition to whatever pain level must be endured.

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"Obviously for us right now we gotta make sure that medically he's in a place where he's safe that way and on top of that when he is and as we work through that, it's important for him to continue to grow off of that momentum that he had those last couple games," Nagy said. 

That's the key to any decision to put Fields back into the lineup is the fact the Bears need to know he's making progress and developing. He's well beyond a stage where he can learn anything watching.

"You know we got into that half against Baltimore and I thought they did a good job that first half and then unfortunately you know he got hurt," Nagy said. "I really felt like those last two games prior to that he had some moments in there where you could feel him growing. You saw him in practice, really starting to see it. 

"And so this is a part of life of playing quarterback in this league. There's going to be injuries that happen. He's done a great job of staying mentally focused even last week for him on the sideline to kind of get a feel and see from that perspective some things I think was good for him. We'll see how it goes this week and keep an eye on everything. I like where he's at."

No doubt, he'd like it more if where Fields was at was out on the playing field.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven