LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears had their coach back on Thursday.Although the quarterback and running back remained an entirely different matter.A day after missing practice because of a stomach virus, coach John Fox returned to Halas Hall and said quarterback Jay Cutler is not up to playing in a game at this point.So Cutler sat out of practice Thursday because of a sprained right thumb.I think we just didnt want to aggravate it more, Fox said. Again, a thumb on a throwing hand of a quarterback is a delicate situation. So we just figured we wouldnt go out there and have any stress on it.Cutler, who missed Sunday nights 31-17 loss at Dallas, had practiced Wednesday on a limited basis for the first time since his injury occurred Sept. 19 in a 29-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.Fox said it wasnt a case where Cutlers thumb worsened after Wednesdays practice.No setbacks, just healing, Fox said.However, Cutler hadnt really done much throwing in Wednesdays practice as the winless Bears (0-3) prepared to host Detroit (1-2) Sunday.A clearer situation could present itself Friday, but backup Brian Hoyer continues to lead the offense while Cutler watches.Right now hes really not able, Fox said about Cutler. He can go out there and take snaps, but to be able to throw the ball into tight windows and the things youve got to do in this league to perform at a high level, if we feel good about that tomorrow (Friday) or we feel good about that Saturday, then (we) wouldnt hesitate to put him in.Right now its hard for me to say, until those days hit.Hoyer continues to operate under the uncertainty of whether hell start, but said its merely the life of an NFL backup.For me Im every day trying to prepare to play whatever his status is, Hoyer said. Until someone tells me different Im just preparing like Im going to play and thats if he was playing I would prepare the same way.Hoyer completed 30 of 49 for 317 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Dallas, but was just 8-for-12 for 71 yards at halftime. The Bears managed only four first-half first downs and trailed 24-3.Its possible Hoyers job would be easier with the other positions on offense more settled, but running back remains an issue.Starter Jeremy Langford has been out since suffering an ankle injury in Sundays game and backup KaDeem Carey remains out of practice after missing Sundays game entirely with a pulled hamstring.As a result, rookie Jordan Howard has taken first-team snaps and is the likely starter. Howard has 67 rushing yards on 12 attempts this season, but the fifth-round draft pick from Indiana has to display improvement in the passing game as a blocker.Hes getting there, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. Hes getting closer.In the NFL, its a little bit different than college football with all the different fronts and with all the different personnel packages. Hes working really hard to get caught up to speed with that, but hes doing a nice job as a runner.The Bears rank 30th in the league in rushing and last in time of possession, so the running game has to show drastic improvement.Earlier this week, the Bears signed former Lions running back Joique Bell and hope to have him available after only a few practices for backup duty against his old team.Picking up the offense in such a short time will be a challenge.Asked if Bears coaches were picking his brain for information on the Lions, Bell said, Right now, I think theyre just trying to feed my brain.Game notes Guard Kyle Long (shoulder) went through a full practice after being limited Wednesday. Guard Josh Sitton (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis. ... Defensive end Mitch Unrein (knee) went through a full practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. ... 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The 28km from Spotless Stadium to Sydney Airport last Saturday night could prove the most important bus ride in the Western Bulldogs AFL history.Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says that trip was when his players switched from joyous preliminary final winners to grand final men on a mission.The wild scenes in the Bulldogs rooms after their win over the Giants have prompted speculation about their emotions ahead of the grand final against Sydney.No-one doubts the Swans will be ready, especially after their grand final drubbing two years ago from Hawthorn.But there is plenty of speculation about whether the Bulldogs will have the right head space on Saturday at the MCG.If Matthew Suckling is not a late inclusion, they will be the first team since St Kilda in 1997 to go into the big game without any AFL grand final experience.But Beveridge is adamant his team will be ready.We gave them time to quickly celebrate the victory, he told Channel Nines Footy Show.There was so much emotion in the rooms.But we weere on the bus pretty quickly and I think as soon as we were on the journey out to the airport, you realise youre coming back home to another task at hand and the biggest game of our lives, really.ddddddddddddSo it hasnt been too hard, theyve kept themselves pretty grounded.This will be the Bulldogs first grand final since 1961 and their only premiership was in 1954.On Friday, club history will be made when they take part in the grand final parade.Apart from the Giants the Gold Coast, the Bulldogs were the only team yet to feature in the parade - a grand final week fixture since 1977.Beveridge is disappointed that Roarke Smith and Lukas Webb, who dropped out of their team emergencies for the grand final, cannot take part.Its a shame we cant cram a few more players into the cars, Beveridge said.Its another poignant moment in whats happening currently at the football club. 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