LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Mitchell Trubisky is just about ready to return to the Chicago Bears' lineup.
Trubisky said he is "really close to 100 per cent" and expects to play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night after missing the past two games because of a right shoulder injury.
He went through a full practice on Wednesday. Assuming no setbacks, he figures to start when the NFC North leaders host the NFC West champions.
"I just gotta show coach that I can play," he said. "I'm feeling good about where I'm at. As long as I can show them that I can go out there every day and make all the throws and be the player that they know I am, I feel confident that I'll be able to go."
Nagy said he feels "strong that he will play," though he wouldn't quite commit to it.
"I got to see more," he said. "I feel good about it."
Trubisky was hurt sliding late in a win over Minnesota on Nov. 18. He was hit by the Vikings' Harrison Smith on the left side, resulting in his throwing shoulder getting driven into the ground.
Chase Daniel has started the past two games, a victory at Detroit on Thanksgiving and an overtime loss at the New York Giants.
Assuming he is cleared to return, Trubisky will face quite a task.
The league-leading Rams (11-1) became the first team to secure a playoff berth when they beat Detroit to clinch their second straight division title. A win over Chicago (8-4) would give them a first-round bye and move them another step closer to home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, with a one-game lead over New Orleans.
While the Bears' defence will have to contain one of the NFL's most explosive offences, Trubisky will have to contend with Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. Donald leads the NFL with 16 1/2 sacks and at least two in each of the past three games.
Even so, getting Trubisky back naturally would be a boost. Daniel had two interceptions, got sacked five times and committed four fumbles against the Giants. And the Bears' five-game win streak came to an end.
"(Trubisky) has led us to this point now, to be No. 1 in our division," receiver Allen Robinson said. "It's really big for us."
The Bears took a slow approach with Trubisky, just as they did with star pass rusher Khalil Mack and Robinson. Both players missed two games because of injuries earlier this season.
Trubisky didn't resume throwing until Friday. He threw again prior to the game against the Giants and felt well enough to play pingpong on Monday, firing off some hard forehands against cornerback Prince Amukamara in an Instagram video posted by receiver Josh Bellamy.
"He's a fighter," Nagy said. "He doesn't care how hurt or injured he is. He wants to be there. So, I appreciate that. I like that about him. But we got to protect him and make sure we're smart."
The No. 2 overall pick in 2017, Trubisky has a 97.7 rating, 20 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 10 games. It's a big improvement over his rookie season, when his rating was about 20 points lower and he threw for as many TDs as INTs (seven).
Trubisky will be going against another quarterback, Jared Goff, who had difficulties as a rookie and made big strides in Year 2 after the team hired a coach with an offensive background. The No. 1 pick in 2016, Goff made the Pro Bowl last season. The two got to know each other well in the off-season, working out together with the same quarterbacks coach and trainers.
Rams coach Sean McVay is impressed by Trubisky.
"I think he's throwing the deep ball extremely accurate, on time," he said. "You clearly see the athleticism, where if something's not there he can step up, he can make (you) pay with his legs. ... You can feel that the players believe in him and I think that's as big as anything else. He's got a nice play energy that exudes a confidence, and the players feed off of him.
"And then the play-making ability, whether it's (throwing) the ball down the field or creating on his own, it's certainly something that has to be accounted for."
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