Bears QB Justin Fields cleared to start vs. Packers despite lingering pain from cracked ribs

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The Chicago Bears expect to have their starting quarterback for Sunday's prime-time game against the rival Green Bay Packers

Head coach Matt Nagy told reporters on Wednesday that Justin Fields has been medically cleared to play on "Sunday Night Football" and will start against the Packers. The first-round rookie quarterback sustained three cracked ribs in a Week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and has missed consecutive games against the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals.

Fields told reporters that he's still experiencing pain from the fractures suffered on Nov. 21, but it's "bearable."

“You have three cracked ribs, of course there’s going to be pain,” Fields said. “As long as it’s just not crazy pain where I can’t bear it, I’m going to play and practice.”

TAMPA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 24: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears looks on prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Justin Fields suffered three cracked ribs on Nov. 21 against the Baltimore Ravens. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Nagy: Bears 'ready to rock and roll' with Fields

Nagy ensured reporters that Fields is medically ready to play. 

"This comes down to for him — like I've been saying the whole time — it's a pain deal that we can't really simulate," Nagy said. "But we know that where he's at — we go off of what he says, we go off of what our doctors say. And when he's fully cleared like he is, then we're ready to rock and roll. He's the starter when he's healthy, and that's where we're at."

Nagy told reporters on Monday that "we're never going to put him at risk medically" prior Fields' medical clearance. 

Fields is starting after his backup Andy Dalton sustained an injury to his non-throwing hand in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. Nagy said that Dalton's status for Sunday isn't yet clear. If he can't play, Nick Foles will back up Fields. 

Fields, the No. 11 pick in April's NFL draft out of Ohio State, officially took over as the Bears' starter in Week 5 after filling in for an injured Dalton the previous two weeks. In 10 games, including eight starts, Fields is completing 58.1% of his passes for 136.1 yards per game with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's also rushed for 311 yards and two touchdowns on 5.6 yards per carry. The Bears are 4-8 and will look to play spoiler against the 9-3 Packers as their division rivals seek the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

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