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Bears DT Henry Melton slowly returning after concussion

Updated: September 30, 2013 2:07PM



Defensive tackle Henry Melton had his helmet and shoulder pads on. His hand was in the dirt and he was “exploding” through some individual drills next to other Bears starters on Wednesday.

It was a clear sign that things are going well for Melton as he makes his way back from a concussion.

Is there a good chance he’s cleared to play by the start of next week for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals?

“All indications are that he’s progressing that way — yes,” coach Marc Trestman said. “When Monday shows up, I don’t know what the doctors are going to say or the trainers are going to say, but indications are that if not Monday, by Wednesday.”

Melton’s conditioning remains a concern. He hasn’t played or practiced much since suffering his concussion Aug. 9 against the Carolina Panthers.

“[His conditioning is] a question mark,” Trestman said. “He’s still getting himself back into shape. He’s got four or five more days to do that, and we’re working with him to try to get him up to speed. But we’ve got some time. I would certainly know a little bit more Wednesday or Thursday of next week.”

What about Earl?

Receiver Earl Bennett’s recovery from a concussion — his second in two years — isn’t as fast as Melton’s, but he is making progress. Bennett was active for the second day in a row.

“He had a helmet on, shoulder pads, was running around,” Trestman said. “He caught some balls out here in practice today. He’s day-to-day. But it’s encouraging. He’s been released to work and begin his re-conditioning process. So that’s a good sign.”

ESPN reported that the Bears were discussing trades for Bennett. A move is unlikely since he’s been out for nearly a month.

Who will play?

Trestman said his staff would finalize their plans Wednesday night regarding which starters would play against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

Up for consideration are sitting rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, the starters on the right side of the offensive line. But no two players have played more this preseason and that might continue against the Browns, who will play some starters.

“We’re going to go in there and probably most of the starters will not play,” Trestman said. “There will be some exceptions along the way.”

Injury updates

Linebacker D.J. Williams (right calf) did some extra running after practice, and Trestman said he’s getting closer to returning.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Scott (knee), cornerback Zack Bowman (hamstring), linebacker J.T. Thomas (hamstring) and defensive tackle Corvey Irvin (ankle) sat out.

Email: ajahns@suntimes.com

Twitter: @adamjahns



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