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Justin Fields Practices for Bears, Andy Dalton Still Taking First-Team Snaps

While Justin Fields returned to practice for the Chicago Bears, Andy Dalton got the first-team snaps on Wednesday.


Whether the prized rookie or veteran will start at quarterback Sunday when the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals visit Soldier Field remains to be seen.


Fields had not practiced since he cracked ribs in the loss to Baltimore on Nov. 21 and was replaced by Dalton. The three-time Pro Bowler led a late go-ahead scoring drive before the Ravens pulled it out and, with a short turnaround, started in a Thanksgiving victory at winless Detroit.


When Fields is healthy, he remains Chicago’s No. 1 quarterback. The No. 11 overall draft pick strung together several solid outings prior to the Baltimore game.


Dalton, who opened the season as the starter, threw for a Bears season-high 317 yards against Detroit. He led an 18-play drive that ate up 8:30 and ended with Cairo Santos’ winning field goal.


Whoever starts for the Bears (4-7) on Sunday will face a huge challenge. The Cardinals (9-2) boast the best record in the NFL, including a 6-0 road mark, and one of the top defenses.


The Bears simply have little room for error the rest of the way as they try to stay in a crowded playoff race. Though they’re just one game out of the NFC’s seventh and final spot, they are one of eight teams in the conference with either four or five victories.


They’re also dealing with injuries to key players on offense and defense, with linebacker Roquan Smith joining the list against Detroit. He exited that game after hurting his hamstring and did not practice Wednesday.


Though Nagy said he does not think Smith will wind up on injured reserve, his injury means the defense could be down another top player against the Cardinals. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack suffered a season-ending foot injury this year, and defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (ankle) has missed the past two games.

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