Bears forced to make adjustments

Updated: September 18, 2009, 5:06 PM ET
Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Middle linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, who is replacing the injured Brian Urlacher, won't be the only new starter for the Chicago Bears when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Coach Lovie Smith said Friday that Zack Bowman will make his first career start in place of Nathan Vasher at right cornerback. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who has a knee sprain, will be replaced by Nick Roach.

Smith also confirmed that tight end Desmond Clark will not play Sunday because of a rib injury. He'll be replaced by Kelvin Davis.

Free safety Danieal Manning told reporters he has been told he will start after coming back from a hamstring injury. Last week, Kevin Payne started at free safety.

Smith has been impressed with Bowman, who had about a dozen snaps at cornerback in the season-opening loss at Green Bay after battling a hamstring pull in training camp.

"I thought he played well in the limited time he had the other day [vs. Green Bay]," Smith said. "We have been bringing him back from an injury. He's done a lot of good things when he's had an opportunity to play."

Vasher has been a Bears starter since 2004, has 18 interceptions and received a five-year, $28 million contract extension in 2007.

"I just have to continue to keep working and do the things I've been doing and try to help Zack out as much as I can and be a total team player," Vasher said.

Manning had a pulled hamstring through much of training camp and preseason but played nickel back against Green Bay. Although he's healthy enough to resume his old starting job, Manning expects to be tested by the Steelers.

"I'm quite sure they're going to throw deep a lot, especially me coming back from a hammy injury they're going to try to go deep," Manning said.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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