Chris Harris not a sure thing for Bears on Sunday

Chicago Bears free safety Chris Harris missed practice again Thursday with a left hip pointer and while that raised questions about his availability for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, Lovie Smith remains confident.

“I'll say it's probably safe to say he'll play,” Smith said. “We won't play a player unless we feel like he can be effective, he won't hurt the team -- he can help the team. I don't think any of our players would put themselves out there knowing that they can't do their job and that will definitely be the case with Chris.

“He's making progress. There's no reason to really think that he can't and won't be able to perform the same way he normally does.”

Harris is the most experienced safety on the roster and if he can’t play, the Bears will have to turn to rookie third-round draft pick Major Wright, who has been used in a rotation in the second half of the season.

Safety play is going to be of primary concern vs. the Green Bay Packers. When the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 at Lambeau Field in Week 17, both scores were set up by long passes to wide receiver Greg Jennings when a safety was either out of position or took a poor angle.

We’ll see if Harris can practice today, but even if he is held out it sounds like Smith will make this a game-time decision. Harris was adamant after the Bears defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round that he would not miss the game, saying they would have to cut off his leg. There’s at least some doubt now after he’s missed two practices.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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