Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte each are making progress in their respective returns from injuries, enough so that there's now more definitive talk about when they might be back.
One week after saying "everything was on track" regarding his rehabilitation of his surgically repaired right thumb, Cutler on Wednesday didn't rule out the possibility of returning before the end of the regular season, which was the hope all along.
"It's just a matter of how comfortable I am these next couple weeks and whether we leave the pins in ... whether I'm comfortable throwing or not," Cutler told WMVP-AM about a recent meeting with his hand surgeon, according to the Chicago Tribune. "But Sunday, he was really happy with the progress I've made so far."
Cutler was asked if there was a chance he could return in Week 16 for a Christmas Day meeting with the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers.
"I'd say outside," Cutler said. "I wouldn't say it's good or definite or even a real possibility, but there's always a chance."
There also appears to be an outside chance that Forte could return even sooner than Cutler. Bears coach Lovie Smith wouldn't rule out the possibility that Forte could practice Wednesday or play in Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.
"We would hope," Smith said, according to The Seattle Times. "But we don't know exactly how long it will be. We still expect him to be back some time this year."
Smith turned coy when pressed if Forte would practice, but the Bears later revealed that the running back sat out the session.
The Bears have been holding out hope that Forte, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in Week 13, also could return during the regular season.