CHICAGO BEARS UPDATE 

lTHE LATEST: NO TIMETABLE FOR FORTE'S RETURN

Following up on the ongoing story. ... As NFL.com's Kareem Copeland suggested on Friday, Brandon Marshall was the Chicago Bears' biggest offseason signing, but Michael Bush might be the most important. For now, at least.

This after Matt Forte left the Bears' 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter with a high right ankle sprain.

A source who has spoken with Forte confirmed the high ankle sprain diagnosis to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, but the Bears do not have a clear timetable for his return.

Forte's availability will depend on his pain tolerance, the source told Rapoport.

Copeland notes that not only does the Bears' offense start with the run, but Forte brings a sense of calm to complement the occasionally sketchy Jay Cutler.

Bush becomes the starter if Forte is out for any length of time.

"That's why I'm here: They brought me here to pick up where (Forte) left off, if something went wrong," said Bush following Thursday's loss, according to the Chicago Tribune. "It's the insurance plan, I guess. I'll be ready."

Bush has been one of the premiere No. 2 running backs in the NFL. He ran for 977 yards in 2011, most after Raiders starter Darren McFadden was injured. Bush had 54 yards on 14 carries against the Packers.

Bush brings more of a power game to the backfield than the sure-handed, shiftier Forte. Though a different style of back, the Bears run game should be fine until Forte returns.

For Fantasy owners, however, much will depend on their draft strategy. I suspect some who eschew the handcuff as a general rule (as I tend to do) will rethink that approach next year.

But as always, the handcuff strategy is only viable when the backup is capable of producing at a level similar to the front-line man he replaces. Bush and Houston's Ben Tate might be the only two backs that fit the bill in that regard this year.

In Bush's case, we're about to get a chance to find out for sure.


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