LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Once again, it’s looking more and more like the Bears will be starting their backup quarterback this Sunday.

But as Justin Fields remains doubtful for the game against the Chargers, an offensive starter who has been out for over a month is getting closer to a return.

Offensive tackle Braxton Jones has been designated to return from injured reserve, opening up his 21-day window to return to the active roster. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice as the Bears prepare for their eighth game of the year against Los Angeles, with no timeline given for a potential lineup return.

Defensive lineman Khalid Kareem was also removed from IR after dealing with a hip injury and was a full participant on Wednesday.

Jones was placed on IR after the Week 2 game against the Bucs with a neck injury, taking out one of the more reliable members of an offensive line that’s been in flux the last two years. In his rookie season of 2022, Jones made every start at tackled and did so for the first two games of this season at left tackle.

Larry Borom has started in his place the last five games at that position.

Now that the window is open, Jones has 21 days to work his way back to health and be placed on the active roster. If that doesn’t happen, the offensive lineman will return to IR for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Should Jones return, it’s likely he’ll be blocking for backup quarterback Tyson Bagent, who would start in place of Fields should he not be able to play this week. Head coach Matt Eberflus said on Wednesday that the starter’s injured thumb continues to improve but he remains doubtful for Sunday.