Justin Fields Injury Update: Could the rookie QB be in line to return Sunday night?

What is the latest injury update for Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields with the Bears set to face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football? Can we expect to see Fields on the field Sunday night, or will we have to wait until later in the season?

Justin Fields injury update

Fields has now missed the last two games for the Bears after leaving during their Week 11 matchup with the Ravens. After initial X-rays were negative, Fields was given an MRI scan later in the week, which showed that he had cracked a few ribs. That injury meant that Fields missed both the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions and the Week 13 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

On Monday, Matt Nagy discussed Fields’ injury situation and whether the rookie QB would be available Sunday.

“That’s going to be an ongoing discussion for us all week long. I’ve said it all along — this is more of a pain thing for him right now, medically. We’re never going to put him at risk, medically. Never. So you can mark that down. If he is able to go and he is able to play and be the starter, it’s going to be because medically he’s cleared. And then I think more than anything it’s pain. Ya know? It’s going to be a pain-tolerance deal.”

Nagy said the Bears would be preparing this week for the potential of either Fields or Andy Dalton under center. It will be interesting to see how the week plays out, and we may not find out who is starting until Sunday evening.

Fields had been having a mixed rookie season before the injury

Things could really only go up for Fields after a disaster of a first start. The rookie QB completed just 6 of his 20 passing attempts for 68 yards against the Browns. Fields was under pressure the entire game, being sacked 9 times during that matchup.

However, his performance against the Steelers on Monday Night Football was promising, as he threw for 291 yards and a touchdown.

There has been plenty of promise for Fields this season. PFN’s Offensive Value Metric (OVM) grades a player’s value within his system based on elements within his control. Fields currently grades as the ninth-most-valuable QB in 2021 and second among rookies behind only Mac Jones.

One element of Fields’ game that has been promising has been his willingness to make throws into tight coverage. Fields currently ranks fifth among QBs in terms of his aggressiveness. He also leads the league in terms of his air yards to the sticks. Fields is pushing the ball downfield and not leaving it to his skill-position players to make plays for him.

Andy Dalton has started the past two games

Dalton received plenty of platitudes for his performance leading the Bears past the Lions on Thanksgiving. Dalton was the sixth-most-valuable QB to his offense per OVM in Week 12, completing 61.5% of his passes for 317 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He helped lead the Bears to a 16-14 victory over their division rivals.

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Nonetheless, Dalton struggled in Week 13. He threw 4 interceptions while completing 63.4% of his passes for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns. His performance was graded as the seventh-least valuable within his environment, according to OVM.

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