LAKE FOREST, Ill. — There will not be a change at quarterback for the Bears on Thursday evening.
While making progress with his injured right thumb, Justin Fields hasn’t been medically cleared by the team doctors to play as of Wednesday. That means that rookie backup Tyson Bagent will get the start against the Panthers on Thursday night at Soldier Field at 7:15 p.m.
This is the third-straight game that Bagent has started after Fields dislocated his thumb in the second half of the Week 6 loss to the Vikings. The rookie finished out that game against Minnesota and then started in a win over the Raiders the following week.
Bagent was under center for road losses to the Chargers in Week 8 and the Saints in Week 9.
Fields was a limited participant last Friday before the game in New Orleans, throwing the ball in practice for the first time since the injury. He was listed as limited in the last three practices, with the first two of the week being walkthroughs.
“He’s getting better, though,” said Ebeflus of Fields. “His accuracy is improving. He’s throwing better. He’s starting to do more and more and more. We’ll see where it goes. We’re listing him as doubtful, and we’ll see where we go from there.”
Perhaps a sliver of hope is left that Fields could play since he was listed as doubtful for the contest with Carolina. Eberflus said that the starting quarterback could take part in drills before the game depending on what happens in the 24 hours before the contest.
In four games in relief of Fields, Bagent has completed 74-of-110 passes (67.3 percent) for 697 yards with three touchdowns compared to six interceptions. Against the Saints last Sunday, he completed 18-of-30 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 70 yards on eight carries.