Justin Fields Injury Update: Who will start for the Chicago Bears in Week 12?

Andy Dalton has a real chance to start for the Chicago Bears against the Detroit Lions as Justin Fields deals with an injury.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is expected to miss Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions after he suffered a painful rib injury on Sunday. NFL Network reported that Andy Dalton, not Fields, will likely start against Detroit, as the four-day turnaround between games was just too short.

Fields would not have participated in Monday’s Bears practice if there had been one, the team announced late in the day.

Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Monday morning that the team was still gathering the facts about Fields’ health. As a result, he could not clarify who would start against Detroit.

After Sunday’s game, Nagy declined to say who would start Thursday against the Lions, even if Fields is healthy enough to play.

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Justin Fields injures ribs vs. Ravens

NFL Network reported that Fields bruised his ribs Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Nagy seemed to suggest the team had not ruled out something more serious. Rather, they sent Fields for further tests Monday morning to see what exactly was going on.

Those tests occurred while his teammates began the NFL’s shortest week of the year. Chicago’s next game was a little over 72 hours after Nagy’s comments Monday, which is a quick turnaround for any injured player. Even if Fields didn’t suffer any structural damage, rib injuries are tricky and painful. As Nagy pointed out, even breathing and sleeping can be difficult.

Fields’ rough rookie season

Fields has been arguably the worst of the five rookie quarterbacks taken in the 2021 NFL Draft (Trey Lance hasn’t played enough to make a true judgment).

He trails Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones in QBR (25.6). Fields is only ahead of Wilson in passer rating (63.5) and completion rate (58.1%) and is only fractionally better than Lawrence and Wilson in EPA + CPOE (0.01). Sunday was Fields’ fifth straight start with a passer rating under 90.

The Bears offense did next to nothing with Fields under center against the Ravens, managing just 126 yards and 0 points through the first half. When Dalton entered the game, he immediately provided a spark, completing his first 2 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Dalton also directed a go-ahead touchdown drive late in regulation, only to see Chicago’s defense give up the lead. The Bears have now lost five straight, and Nagy is in serious danger of losing his job.

Adam Beasley is the NFL Director for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.

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