Bears' Orton not ruling out playing after ankle injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Relieved that his right ankle is just sprained and not broken, Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton hopes to play this week against unbeaten Tennessee.

"I'm certainly not ruling out anything," Orton said Wednesday. "I don't know exactly what the timetable's going to be, but I just feel if I keep on making improvement, I certainly can't rule out this week."

Several reports said Orton could miss up to a month with a high ankle sprain after he left Sunday's 27-23 victory over the Detroit Lions on a cart in the closing minute of the first half, but tests showed no fractures or tears. And he's seeing improvement each day.

"It's been a good couple days," said Orton, wearing a protective sleeve on his foot.

The odds of Orton playing against Tennessee -- or at Green Bay the following week -- did not look good when he left the field during the Detroit game.

Bears safety Mike Brown, the emotional leader of the defense, had just walked to the locker room with a calf injury following a field goal by Jason Hanson that extended the Lions' lead to 10. Moments later, Orton went down.

Until then, Orton was enjoying a breakout season after beating Grossman for the starting job in the preseason. He has 1,777 yards while completing 151 of 244 passes, and has 10 touchdowns and four interceptions -- none in the past four games.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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