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NFL injury report: Earl Bennett, Evan Rodriguez back in practice with Bears on Monday

After missing the past two weeks with a hand injury, Bears wideout Earl Bennett is back in practice in preparation of next Monday's game against the Lions.

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Chicago Bears saw the return of two offensive players -- wide receiver Earl Bennett and fullback Evan Rodriguez -- on Monday afternoon following the team's bye week, as ESPN Chicago's Michael C. Wright reports. Both players sat out of Chicago's most recent game, a 41-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 7.

With rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery missing time due to a fracture in his right hand suffered during the Jacksonville game, Bennett will likely play a large role in Chicago's passing offense over the next few weeks. As head coach Lovie Smith tells Wright, Bennett's return comes at a nice time:

Earl has helped us win a lot of games around here. Just getting his health back, it was hard for him to be out. But when you have a good player like Alshon that goes down and you can replace him with a guy like Earl that says a little bit about how strong our 53-man roster is.

Bennett, 25, has been practicing with the team since before the victory over Jacksonville, but the team opted to keep him inactive for a couple more weeks rather than press him into action. Now that the team is without Jeffery, it seems likely that Bennett will get thrown into the fire against the Lions on Monday night.

Over the first three games of the season, Bennett caught six passes for 82 yards. Rodriguez also appeared in the first three games of the season, but he never recorded any statistics of significance.