Cutler will have pins removed from thumb; unlikely to play

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will have pins removed from his surgically repaired right thumb on Tuesday but it is highly unlikely he will play in the team’s season finale Sunday at Minnesota.

In fact, coach Lovie Smith talked about looking forward to seeing Josh McCown play again after the 32-year-old journeyman helped spark the offense to a season-high 441 yards in the 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

The Bears have also been without running back Matt Forte, who has a sprained MCL in his right knee, for three games.

“If they’re healthy and ready to go, we won’t tell them no,” Smith said. “But there are some other guys that we feel comfortable playing. They’re making progress. If we had other things on the line, we would take the same approach. Never would stop a player that wanted to play that was healthy and really ready to go. I don’t know if that will be the case.”

Smith indicated Cutler is “on schedule” with his recovery but wouldn’t speculate if that means he will practice at all this week. The Bears were officially eliminated from the playoff race with the loss. McCown performed well and could be auditioning for the backup job for next season after Caleb Hanie flopped in four starts.

“I think everything you do, you have to look at the performance and the performance Josh put in last night was impressive,” Smith said. “That’s why we can get so much done this week. We want to see him have an opportunity to come back and play again this coming week. You normally can find a spot for a player that played the way he played last night.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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