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updated: 10/29/2013 4:48 PM

Cutler optimistic but cautious on his return

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  • He's feeling better, but quarter Jay Cutler isn't as optimistic as Brandon Marshall is about when Cutler will be cleared to play for the Bears.

       He's feeling better, but quarter Jay Cutler isn't as optimistic as Brandon Marshall is about when Cutler will be cleared to play for the Bears.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer/file

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Injured Bears quarterback Jay Cutler appreciates wide receiver Brandon Marshall's confidence in his recuperative powers, but he doesn't think he'll be back for the Nov. 11 game against the Lions.

"He's optimistic," Cutler said, smiling. "And so am I. So we'll see how it goes."

Doctors say Cutler's torn groin muscle is a four-week injury and that he'll be week-to-week after that.

Realistically, the earliest Cutler could possibly return is Nov. 17 against the Baltimore Ravens, but that's a stretch. Until then Cutler will do what he's been doing this week at practice, catching some throws from now-starter Josh McCown and recently signed backup Jordan Palmer, and watching practice.

"It's tough watching," Cutler said. "It's always the hardest part, not being able to do your job with the rest of the guys. So I've just got to help Josh as best I can. And when I get back I get back."

Until then Cutler will be more like an assistant coach than a player, working closely with the 11-year veteran McCown, who hasn't played in a regular-season game since the end of 2011.

"We're just going through the read, just looking at film," Cutler said. "He's been around a long time, so there's not much I can tell him that he hasn't seen or done."

Cutler says his most recent injury was the most painful of several that he's had, including a sprained knee, fractured thumb and a concussion.

"My thumb, I didn't feel that," he said. "This has been the most significant pain-wise that I've had."

• Follow Bob's reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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