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updated: 10/9/2012 8:16 PM

Bears' Smith evasive on Jeffery's 'minor injury'

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  • Bears rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not return after this 10-yard touchdown catch Sunday at Jacksonville.

      Bears rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not return after this 10-yard touchdown catch Sunday at Jacksonville.
    Associated Press

 
 

Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is expected to miss at least a couple of games with a fractured right hand, although Bears coach Lovie Smith seems to be hoping that if he ignores the injury it will go away.

Jeffery suffered the injury on his 10-yard TD catch on the first play of the fourth quarter Sunday and did not return. But the Bears' coach wouldn't even confirm the time of the injury following Tuesday's abbreviated practice leading up to this weekend's bye.

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"Without going into detail, (it was) one of those plays in the game for Alshon," the evasive Smith said. "Minor injury, and it's going to take a few hopefully I'm not going to go into how long, but he'll be back out there before we know it. Nothing major."

Smith also wouldn't confirm that Jeffery suffered a fracture.

"I didn't (say that)," the coach said. "You said it's broken, I did not say that. I said he's out for a short period time is what I said, and we can't wait to get him back out there.

"Since we don't have an injury list, I'm not going to talk about Alshon's injury much, so we can move on."

Through five games, the second-round pick (50th overall) from South Carolina is second on the Bears in receptions (14), yards (184) and TD catches (2).

"It's tough," Smith said, "but we know we're going to get him back, so it's as simple as that. Injuries are part of it. He'll be back before we know it."

Fortunately for the Bears, veteran wide receiver Earl Bennett, who missed the past two games with a hand injury, is expected to be back for the next game, Monday night, Oct. 22, against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field.

"I don't know how long (Jeffery) is out, but it's tough," offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. "Hopefully we get Earl back. This is the NFL, and we have injuries.

"It's too bad because he was starting to come on. Great rapport between him and Jay, but now we hopefully can get Earl back and just keep going."

Bennett practiced on a limited scale last week, and he was on the field at Halas Hall on Tuesday but declined to speak afterward. He had 6 catches for 82 yards in the first three games before he was injured.

"In that (wide receivers) room, we've got a lot of talent," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "So someone's going to step up."

Bennett missed five games last season with a chest injury, but he came back strong, making 14 receptions for 251 yards in his first three games back. However, he had just 7 catches for 110 yards over the final six games.

Dane Sanzenbacher, inactive the first three weeks, should continue to see more playing time until Jeffery returns.

The second-year player from Ohio State, who tied for second among Bears wide receivers with 27 receptions last season, had his first reception of 2012 on Sunday at Jacksonville.

rlegere@dailyherald.com

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