Justin Fields

Justin Fields says he’ll be the one who decides whether he plays in Week 12

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All things considered, Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields looked good Wednesday when he met with media members at Halas Hall. He wasn’t in a sling. He isn’t on injured reserve. He was a limited participant in practice, and there’s a chance he’ll play Sunday against the New York Jets.

“Of course better than Sunday,” Fields said when asked how he was feeling. “I’ve been getting a lot of treatment and just trying to get this shoulder right.”

The Bears have been somewhat vague when discussing Fields’ left shoulder injury. Coach Matt Eberflus has been very coach-like with his updates on his prized quarterback, calling him day-to-day for, well, several days.

Fields was a bit more specific about the injury he’s dealing with.

“It’s a separated shoulder with partially torn ligaments, basically an AC joint,” he said. “That’s my understanding of it.”

As for the pain? Fields did say that his throwing motion has been affected by the injury. He also said he’s doing his part to get back on the grass as soon as possible.

“Some movements that I do with my arm, it hurts it a good bit,” Fields said. “Just just trying to work through those motions and get my arm used to moving in those particular motions that hurt it so it’s used to moving that way and it gets the muscle stronger.”

So much for Justin Fields vs. Zach Wilson

Week 12’s game against the Jets was supposed to be a showdown between two first-round quarterbacks from the 2021 NFL draft. Fields vs. Zach Wilson, who was selected second overall that year by New York, was the sub-plot that had combustible potential.

Yet, here we are. The Jets benched Wilson, and Fields’ injury has his availability for Sunday still up in the air.

“I just feel like if I can play, that I’m not furthering the risk of injury and I can do what I need to do to be able to protect myself, I think that’ll be good enough for me to play,” said Fields.

Whether Fields plays will be up to him. The QB said coach Eberflus told him it’s his call.

“Coach Flus pretty much said it was up to me, they want the best thing for me, so he said if I feel that I can play, if I feel that I can go out there and protect myself and stuff like that, then I’d be able to go,” Fields said. “I’m just going to see how it feels each and every day and play it by ear.

“I’m not really going to know how my shoulder will feel until Sunday actually comes.”

Bears must weigh the risk vs. reward of Justin Fields playing in Week 12

If Fields has proven anything throughout his playing career, he’s a tough dude. He’s always been a tough dude, even dating back to his days at Ohio State when he famously finished the National Championship game despite playing with cracked ribs and a partially torn hip.

“I gotta damn near die for me not to play in that one,” Fields said of the title game.

But Sunday’s tilt against the Jets isn’t the National Championship. It’s a Week 12 game in a lost season. The risk might outweigh the reward.

“I’m not going to sacrifice playing in this game for me risking that I might not be able to play later,” Fields said. “I’m not going to sacrifice playing in this game, and I get hurt, and I have to sit out two or three more weeks after that.”

Fields and the Bears are handling his injury the right way. Thankfully, it isn’t serious. But they’re being cautious with a player who means everything to this team, right now and in the future.

What means most to Fields, though, are his Bears teammates.

“I play for those guys in the locker room,” he said. “I see how much work they put in each and every day. Having them as my teammates, having the leaders that we do have on this team, be there for everybody and lead like they do, I think it’s a big example of how our team is, how we’re built, and what our culture is.”

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