Bears QB Justin Fields expected to start on Sunday in Detroit after 4-game absence

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears plan to start Justin Fields on Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field — the quarterback’s first start in more than a month.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus announced the plan before practice Wednesday at Halas Hall, saying Fields is “progressing well” from the dislocated right thumb that kept him out of four games.

Eberflus said the practice would be “a big evaluation” as Fields does full-speed team reps after he was limited in practices and walk-throughs before this week. Fields suffered the injury Oct. 15 in the third quarter of a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and rookie Tyson Bagent went 2-2 as the starter in his place.

Now Fields returns with seven games to play in his third season — and a lot to prove to general manager Ryan Poles, Eberflus and offensive coordinator Luke Getsy as they plot the team’s future at the position.

Fields had good and bad performances in the six games he played before he was injured. He completed 61.7% of his passes for 1,201 yards with 11 touchdowns, six interceptions, 24 sacks and a 96.1 passer rating.

The high came against the Washington Commanders in Week 5, when he threw for 282 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers.

“I think seven weeks is enough time to show consistency and (be) the high performer that we expect him to be,” Eberflus said. “I know he’s had some good performances this year. Certainly the last few have been solid. We expect consistency out of all our positions.”

Fields will return against a Lions defense that ranks ninth overall with 310.7 yards allowed per game but 20th with 231.6 passing yards allowed per game. The Lions have 21 sacks and 11 takeaways, including eight interceptions.

Eberflus said Fields’ return gives the Bears offense “different options” with his skill set, which includes rushing for 237 yards and a touchdown on 47 carries this year.

“You have some different options there, different movement passes that you might run that you wouldn’t run with a different quarterback in there,” Eberflus said. “Certainly it opens up your package a bit.”

Fields’ return closes an up-and-down turn for Bagent, who completed 65.7% of his passes for 859 yards with three touchdowns, six interceptions, five sacks and a 71.4 passer rating.

Eberflus said Fields was professional and supportive of Bagent while working back from the injury.

“That was very beneficial for Tyson to have that support because you can feel him being genuine about that support and really helpful,” Eberflus said. “He has always been a great teammate, always been one of the hardest workers. He was engaged in all those game plans to be helpful and to be supportive.”