The Bears' backup quarterback situation is, for now, uncertain.
Former No. 3 Matt Blanchard isn't sure how long he will be out with a spiral fracture on one of the knuckles on his left (non-throwing) hand. And he's not sure what the Bears will do with him.
It's highly unlikely Blanchard would be able to take a snap by the start of the regular season, but it's also not an injury that would keep him out for the entire season.
In the meantime, veterans Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards will compete for the backup spot behind starter Jay Cutler and No. 2 Josh McCown.
Palmer, who is expected to mop up in Friday's third preseason game, has played in just four NFL games as a backup with the Cincinnati Bengals, and none since 2010.
"I'm at the point in my career where I just want to play football," said the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Palmer. "I'm trying to show I can digest a complicated offense and translate that over to the field. Move the ball when I'm in there, finish off some drives."
Edwards is 14-19 as an NFL starter but has played in just one game the past two years, although he started three games in 2010 and 14 with the Buffalo Bills in 2008, when he posted an 85.4 passer rating.
He didn't need much coaxing to come to Chicago.
"I didn't need too many specifics," said the 6-foot-4, 231-pound Edwards. "It's better than sitting on a couch, for sure.
"If you can get into an NFL locker room and learn an NFL playbook and play in a preseason game or two, just show that you can still perform, that's way better than no situation at all."
The Bears started last season with just two quarterbacks on the 53-man and Blanchard on the practice squad, which they could do again. Or they could put Blanchard on injured reserve and keep one or both of the veterans.
Coach Marc Trestman will be pondering which route to take as final cuts approach Aug. 31.
"Depending on Matt's situation, we'll have to make a determination whether we'll have three or possibly four on the roster," Trestman said. "More likely (it will be) three, and that could involve one of those two guys (Edwards and Palmer).
"But it's still up in the air based on what happens the next few weeks and what happens with Matt."
While the Bears started last season with just Cutler and Jason Campbell on the 53-man roster, they kept three, like most NFL teams, after McCown was signed in November following Cutler's concussion.
"It's something I've got to think of, quite frankly," Trestman said. "I've been out of the league (since 2005), and you're always thinking three, because if somebody does go down, that (third) person's been in the meetings, and he's connected with the staff and with the other quarterbacks.
"But the roster may dictate that we have to go in another direction and go only with two."
Not much is likely to be decided Friday night in Oakland, since the starters will play at least until halftime and McCown figures to play through the third quarter.
But the plan is for Palmer and Edwards to split the final preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field.
"I expect Jordan to play the fourth quarter (Friday)," Trestman said. "Next week we plan on holding both Jay and Josh out and playing Jordan and Trent. The reason, obviously, why we got them both in is we worked them out (in June) and we liked them both."
If Trestman still feels the same way in a couple of weeks, it could be another bad break for Blanchard, who has shown steady improvement since last season, enough that the Bears did not pursue another veteran backup in the off-season.
In the preseason opener, the Lake Zurich and Wisconsin-Whitewater product completed 15 of 18 passes for 194 yards and an 88.4 passer rating.
So what's the plan for the promising and athletic Blanchard?
"It's a good question," Trestman said. "We've got to see how this injury unfolds and how it relates to the roster. We're just giving that some time.
"We just are not in position to make that decision yet, so we're just going to see how this injury unfolds and what the length of it would be."
Blanchard was injured when he tried to run after a screen pass broke down and his finger got caught in the face mask of a San Diego Chargers defensive lineman. But he was at practice Monday, throwing passes on the side and trying to stay involved.
"Getting injured is always frustrating," he said. "You just have to handle it with as much poise as possible. But I still can throw, still can work out, still run and stay in shape. You have to keep your head up and move forward."
•Follow Bob's NFL reports on Twitter @BobLeGere, and check out his Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com/sports.