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Cutler ready to go but Bears shorthanded

Published: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 9:03 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — Jay Cutler had full participation in practice Friday with a sprained MCL in one of his knees but the Chicago Bears will be shorthanded for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

Cutler will start Sunday but cornerback Tim Jennings, who has missed two weeks of practice now since suffering a dislocated shoulder in the Dec. 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and defensive tackle Henry Melton, will not play. Coach Lovie Smith said Melton, who is second on the team with six sacks, returned Friday after being excused Thursday for personal reasons but did not practice.

Wide receiver Earl Bennett (concussion) will not play and defensive end Shea McClellin (knee) also will sidelined with an MCL sprain. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (hamstring) is out.

But Cutler, who was limited in Thursday’s practice and is also listed with a neck injury, is set to go. He was sacked seven times and threw four interceptions in the Week 2 meeting with the Packers.

“What knee?” Smith said when asked about Cutler’s knee injury.

But the knee injury is legitimate and that is why the team has listed Cutler with a knee injury on the report.

“Jay is good to go,” Smith said. “We are hoping he will play the best game he has ever been able to play.”

The Packers will not be at full strength but they did list outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who leads the team with nine sacks, as probable. Matthews has missed the previous four games with a pulled hamstring. Also worth watching is the status of right guard Josh Sitton, who suffered a hip injury in Thursday’s practice and is questionable. Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is out.

Running back Michael Bush, who missed Thursday’s practice with a ribs injury, returned to practice and is listed as questionable. Strong-side linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (knee) are questionable.

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