Bears special-teams coach: Hester best returner ever

Put Chicago Bears special-teams coach Jeff Rodgers firmly in the "Devin Hester belongs in the Hall of Fame" group.

"He's the best that's ever done it," Rodgers said. "Elite skill set."

Rodgers never coached Hester. But, he said: "I was across the sideline several times, and you're holding your breath. There's been nobody like him in my generation. He was really the first (return) guy that you game-planned for, and you saw different people take different approaches.

"You (would) see people try to punt the ball out of bounds. Well, defenses can combat that with some of the rush schemes, so you may have to change that. You saw people try to kick fair-catch balls and short (punts).

"Because the reality is, if you played Chicago when he was rolling and you came out of the game with a 35- or 36-yard punt (average), which isn't great, but against him, you're usually taking that every time. He was as good as it gets."

Once is enough:

Seeing Zach Miller's catastrophic knee injury in real time was more than enough for coach John Fox - he doesn't need to see the replay.

"I never looked at it and never will," Fox said. "When it happened I could tell in that instant it was serious. Usually for a coach, you can tell, so I was out there pretty fast. But it does affect you, and it affects football players.

"You look at both teams; when something like that happens to a player, both teams take a knee because they know that could be them."

After eight surgeries, Miller was back at Halas Hall this week for the first time since his Oct. 29 injury.

"It was awesome," Fox said. "He had a smile on his face, he was excited to be here. I think everybody's inspired to see him and vice versa. I know he was happy to be back."

Extra points:

With three games remaining, the Bears already have rushed for more than 200 yards four times, the most in a season since 1990. Eight teams have rushed for more than 220 yards in a game this season, but only the Bears have done it more than once. … Ironically, the Bears also have games in which they've rushed for 6 yards (vs. the Eagles) and 20 yards (Buccaneers). … The Bears' defense has allowed just 10 touchdowns in the past 33 quarters.

Injury status:

The Bears had everyone on the practice field inside the Walter Payton Center all week, although a handful were limited.

Four players remained limited Thursday and are questionable for Saturday's game, including tight end Adam Shaheen (chest), nose tackle Eddie Goldman (hip) and safeties Adrian Amos (hamstring) and DeAndre Houston-Carson (ankle). Linebacker Pernell McPhee (shoulder) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (shoulder) practiced in full.

The Lions will be short-handed on the offensive line.

Center Travis Swanson (concussion) and right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) are out. Two other starters, right guard T.J. Lang (foot) and defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle) are questionable.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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