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GOOD NEWS FOR CHICAGO: MATT FORTE IS BACK
Mon, 01 Oct 2012 02:30 AM EDT

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte practiced for the 1st time since suffering a sprained right ankle on Sept. 13 in a loss to the Packers, and he is expecting to play Monday night when the team faces the Cowboys.

Asked whether he believes he’ll be ready to play, Forte said, “Yeah.”

Forte said he isn’t surprised at the quick improvement of his ankle. Forte took part during the individual part of practice the media is generally permitted to view. During the period, Forte worked on blocking drills, ran routes and sprinted. He didn’t appear to be fighting through any remaining effects from the injury.

As part of his recovery, Forte slept in a hyperbaric chamber and borrowed an ARP (Accelerated Recovery Performance) Machine from cornerback Charles Tillman, which the running back used extensively. ARP machines typically cost in the $14,000 range and are designed to stimulate the nervous system, which in its turn helps along the healing process. In addition to treatment of injuries, athletes typically use ARP machines — which aren’t issued by teams — to stretch and strengthen muscles.

“Yeah, I have one of those (hyperbaric chambers). I’ve been sleeping in that. That deals a lot with the soreness and stuff and (I used) ARP machines and that stuff,” Forte declared. “I borrowed Peanut Tillman’s ARP machine. So he’s kind of helped me out in that aspect. I don’t sleep in (the hyperbaric chamber) at night. I just get in it for one or two hours and just use the pure oxygen. It’s supposed to help in healing faster.”

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith repeatedly said that Forte was “getting better” and expressed the same sentiment after practice while cautioning against becoming very upbeat about the running back’s prospects for returning against the Cowboys. Vegas odds

Because the game doesn’t happen until Monday night, the Bears aren’t needed by the NFL to issue an injury report. It’s also worth realizing that Smith, like most coaches round the league, is evasive about disclosing injury information.

The probable return of Forte may come as relief for the Chicago Bears considering the doubt concerning the RB position. Smith recognized that backup RB Michael Bush took some hard shots against the St. Louis Rams, but failed to disclose whether he suffered an injury in the victory.

The team’s decision to bring in former Packers RB Ryan Grant — who opted to sign with the Redskins on last Tuesday for a workout may be seen as a sign the staff is worried about depth at the position.

Right after suffering the ankle injury, Forte stated that he knew he’d return quickly “based on how I was reacting.”

“I didn’t truly swell up. That is a big part when you have an ankle injury, when the swelling is big it needs a long time to get it out,” Forte announced. “But I didn’t truly swell up. So I felt just like I’d be back pretty soon.”

Forte indicated that he’s suffered ankle injuries during the past and “know (s) how to work with them.”

“It’s just (that) you have got to wish to get back on the field,” he revealed.


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