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Bears won't cave without Cutler, they claim

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears believe they can get by without Jay Cutler. That theory might be tested this week.

Coach Lovie Smith said Cutler is improving after sitting out the second half of Sunday's loss to Houston because of a concussion. Whether he'll be ready to play against San Francisco on Monday night is another issue, but they think Jason Campbell is a solid backup.

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As for Cutler?

"We're still evaluating him, he's meeting with people, medical staff, our trainers and all of that, but he's getting better," Smith said Wednesday. "We do have a little bit more time and that's always good."

What wasn't good was that helmet-to-helmet late in the first half that hit Cutler took from Tim Dobbins, who was fined $30,000 by the league on Wednesday. The Bears believe that's when the concussion occurred.

Cutler initially did not show any symptoms and took seven more snaps in the first half. It wasn't until halftime that the symptoms showed up, and the Bears pulled their quarterback at that point.

The concussion wasn't the first for Cutler. He also missed a game after being sacked nine times in the first half of a loss at the New York Giants in October 2010. But Smith said he isn't worried about this becoming a recurring issue with his quarterback.

"I just worry about the one he had the other night," Smith said. "I can't look into the future or anything like that. Every case is different. Jay's feeling a whole lot better. It'll all play out."

The Bears will start practicing this week on Thursday, and if Cutler isn't ready to play against the 49ers, they figure to go with Campbell. They also brought in veteran Josh McCown this week as a backup.

With Campbell in the mix after signing in the off-season, the Bears believe they can at least avoid the meltdown that came after Cutler's season-ending injury a year ago.

Campbell threw for 94 yards in the second half last week, completing 11 of 19 passes.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 15, 2012 D4

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