Bears' Smith won't say if Cutler will practice this week

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith said quarterback Jay Cutler will have pins removed from his surgically repaired right thumb on Tuesday.

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It's highly unlikely Cutler will play in the Bears' season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, however, and Smith said Monday, via the Chicago Tribune, he's looking forward to watching Josh McCown play for a second straight game.

Smith did not rule out Cutler, though, nor did he say that injured running back Matt Forte would not play against the Vikings.

"If they are healthy and ready to go, we won't tell them no," Smith said. "But there are some other guys we feel comfortable playing. They are making progress."

Cutler has not played since a win over the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20, when he broke his thumb trying to help make a tackle following a late interception. The Bears (7-8) have since unraveled with five straight losses and were officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 35-21 defeat at Green Bay on Sunday, a drastic fall for a team that appeared to be a postseason lock.

Smith would not elaborate if Cutler would be able to practice this week.

"I can't really go any further than that," Smith said. "That was part of the original plan, for him to take that next step as far as his rehab goes. He's right on schedule."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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