- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was limited in practice Wednesday, and his status for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers is still uncertain as he recovers from a concussion he suffered against the New York Giants.
Cutler threw passes in individual drills during the 10 minutes open the media, but reporters are escorted off the field before team drills.
"[Cutler has] got a meeting [Wednesday] afternoon," Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz said. "We practiced him to see how he feels and move him around. He shared some snaps out there, and we gave Todd [Collins] snaps just in case. We'll just see how this goes."
"He was able to do some things, of course, that's all a part of working himself back in the flow of things," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "The evaluation process, of course, continues with him but getting back out on the practice field was a part of that."
Cutler skipped his standard Wednesday afternoon press conference, although team officials left open the possibility of Cutler meeting with the media later in the week.
Cutler was sacked nine times in the first half of Sunday's 17-3 loss to the Giants.
Guidelines adopted by the NFL in December 2009 say players who leave a game or practice because of a concussion should not resume football activities until they are "fully asymptomatic, both at rest and after exertion" and have been cleared by team physicians and an "independent neurological consultant."
"All I can say about [Cutler's recovery] is of course we have a process that we go through, our doctors, through our medical staff," Smith said. "A part of that is started right after the game, started during the game. Of course, continued after. Part of that was getting him back out on the football field today. It will continue. That's about all I can say. Before he goes back out onto the football field, he'll have to be checked out by an independent doctor; independent physician before he's completely released to play in the football game."
If Cutler can't play, Collins will start and Caleb Hanie would be the backup.
"If something should happen where Jay was not able to play, then Todd is clearly our backup, yes," Martz said. "Todd is a guy who has played a great deal and won. He's played exceptionally well at this level, and we know what he is. He demonstrated that in the preseason that he can play at a high level. Very excited about Caleb and where he is. Caleb could easily be No. 2 right now.
"But because of experience and being in this competitive situation and knowing how to respond and manage the game ... these would be things a little new for Caleb. We know, at least I feel good, about Todd in those pressure situations and would anticipate him managing the game very well and playing very well."
"He's a pro," Smith said of Collins. "Todd is a smart player and has been in a lot of systems. He knows what is going on. You pull for guys like that. Normally, you need a player like that to step in sometimes during the course of the year."
In other injury news, left tackle Chris Williams remained sidelined but was working on the side with a member of the Bears medical staff. Right guard Lance Louis (knee), linebacker Nick Roach (stinger) and Collins (stinger) all returned to practice after being hurt in the loss to New York. Like Cutler, Louis was limited during practice.
Newly signed defensive end Charles Grant practiced Wednesday after joining the Bears earlier in the week.
Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.
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