Tillman expected to start vs. 49ers

Updated: November 10, 2009, 6:00 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman practiced Tuesday and is expected to start Thursday night against San Francisco. The veteran defensive back had to leave last Sunday's game early due to a shoulder injury.

"I'm good. I feel real good, I really do," Tillman said. "If you all could have seen practice, I was amazing. Running and everything, so I'm really OK."

The news was not so positive on safeties Al Afalava (shoulder) and Kevin Payne (back), who both sat out of Tuesday's workout.

Is Tillman concerned about Afalava and Payne potentially missing the Niners game?

"Man, you all never heard of Josh Bullocks?" Tillman said. "You'll all see on Thursday."

Although Bullocks is listed as a second-team safety, Craig Steltz may also be in the mix to play if necessary.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He is also a talk-show host on ESPN 1000 and the ESPN Radio network.