NFL

Bears' Forte expects to start vs. Lions despite ankle injury

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Associated Press
12/28/2012 6:05:01 PM
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte expects to start Sunday against the Bears despite an ankle injury suffered last week.

Forte went through a full practice Friday and was listed probable for the game at Detroit, which the Bears will need to win if they have any shot at making the playoffs.

The team also announced Friday it had waived defensive end Cheta Ozougwu and promoted running back Harvey Unga to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. That gives the Bears two healthy running backs besides Forte. Kahlil Bell is the other backup.

Linebacker Brian Urlacher is doubtful for the Lions game, although he went through a limited practice Friday in his first workout since before suffering a hamstring injury Dec. 2.

"I was encouraged that he was finally able to get on the practice field, and it's not like we had a full-padded practice today, though," coach Lovie Smith said. "But he was able to move around, which we thought he would be able to do. The normal progress we hoped he would make, he has made. Brian doesn't have to necessarily practice a full practice before we would play him, but we're not to that point."

Urlacher did get some snaps with the first team during the scrimmage portion of practice, but only a handful according to linebacker Nick Roach, who has played the past three games in Urlacher's place.

Urlacher has no contract for next season. So unless he makes a dramatic comeback before Sunday or the Bears get into the playoffs, Urlacher could have already played his last game for the team.

Forte sprained his right ankle early in the second half of Sunday's 28-13 win over Arizona -- the third time he's had the same injury this year.

"I know it is going to be painful, especially when you get tackled and hit on," he said. "It will be just like the Dallas game, when I got hit on the first play and I just had to get re-taped."

Starting safety Chris Conte (hamstring) and backup linebacker Blake Costanzo (calf) did not practice Friday. They are listed out for the game. That means Anthony Walters will make his first NFL start in Conte's place. Running back Armando Allen (knee) also missed practice and is questionable.

Matt Forte (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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