Andy Dalton has another chance this season to be the Bears starting quarterback as Justin Fields sits out on Thursday’s game vs. the Lions due to a rib injury.
During Sunday’s Bears game vs. the Ravens, Fields took a hit to his ribs and left the remainder of the game in the third quarter. Fields was further evaluated after the game and on Monday. It was determined that Fields does not have broken ribs, but they are bruised. He was also evaluated for a possible spleen injury.
Dalton started the first two games of the season, but lost his starting role after a months-long debate about who would become the Bears QB1. Dalton steps in on Thanksgiving to try to end the Bears’ five-game losing streak.
Here’s what you need to know about Justin Fields’ injury status.
Why isn’t Justin Fields starting today?
A four day turnaround wasn’t enough time for Fields to recover from his rib injury to play on Thursday’s game vs. the Lions. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Andy Dalton would be the Thanksgiving game starter. Dalton stepped in for Fields during the Ravens game, and he immediately threw a touchdown pass. However, the Bears still lost 16-13 to the Ravens.
Head coach Matt Nagy spoke about Fields’ injury, which he believes to be only to his ribs, on Monday morning. At the time, he did not tell the media who would be starting on Thursday.
“He’s a tough guy, so when you go through these type of things, our trainer Andre (Tucker) has to be able to gauge where he’s at,” Nagy said, via Chicago Tribune. “With this being the ribs, we just have to be able to evaluate, OK, pain and the simplicity of breathing and sleeping — the things that we just take for granted — to throwing a football.”
Nagy added that the Bears would « protect [Fields] from himself » by not having him take a chance of making his injury worse on Thursday.
Justin Fields injury update
The Bears QB was evaluated post-game on Sunday and then underwent tests on Monday to determine the severity of his rib injury. Fields announced on his friend’s Instagram page that he didn’t have broken ribs, but they were bruised.
— Adam (@_adamhess) November 22, 2021
The results from his tests have not been made public yet. Fields also said he would be checked for a spleen injury.
When will Justin Fields return?
There is no specific timeline about when Fields will return to the starting QB position.
However, if what Nagy says about four days being too quick of a turnaround for Fields, then a 10-day rest for the Bears following Thursday’s game could be what Fields needs to return. It all depends on the severity of his injury once the test results come back.