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Lovie says he hates being average
By Bob LeGere | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/9/200 8:40 PM

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At 4-4, the Bears have a better record than just 13 of the 31 other NFL teams. They have the eighth-best record in the NFC, leaving them with an uphill fight for one of six playoff berths.

Coach Lovie Smith was asked if he was happy at .500.

"I'm not happy with it," Smith said. "What do you think? Do you think I'm happy in this situation right now? Happy with that game? You were there (Sunday). So, to confirm what you were thinking, no, I'm not."

Smith was also asked if he took it more personally when the defense struggles as it has, since he's making the calls on that side of the ball this year.

"No," he said. "I take it personal when our team struggles, period. Special teams, offense, defense, everything. I'm involved with everything - more involved in one area maybe than the others - but as a head football coach, I take it personally when anything goes wrong with our football team. Right now we're 4-4. That's how I'm feeling. We're an average team right now with potential to do some great things this second half."

Injury update: Backup running back Garrett Wolfe will not play Thursday night with what the Bears have said is a back injury, but which is believed to be a lacerated kidney that left him hospitalized after Sunday's game. He could miss 2-4 weeks.

Without Wolfe, who is one of the Bears' top special teams players, Adrian Peterson would be the only backup behind Matt Forte. When Peterson missed two games earlier in the season with a sprained knee, the Bears went with Wolfe as the only backup.

"We've done it before," coach Lovie Smith said. "That's an option for us. Right now we don't know exactly how long Garrett will be out. We've gone with two running backs before, and if we have to do that we will."

The Chiefs on Monday released troubled running back Larry Johnson, who rushed for 3,539 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2005 and '06 but averaged just 2.7 yards per carry this season and turns 30 on Nov. 19.

"Any player that's available, we look at," Smith said. "That's been our standard policy throughout. That's kind of a low priority right now."

Injury update II: Cornerback Charles Tillman is expected to play Thursday night vs. the 49ers despite a shoulder injury that sidelined him in the second quarter Sunday.

Tillman may have overstated the case Monday afternoon, when he said: "I'm feeling grrrrrrrreat. I'm 100 percent."

But coach Lovie Smith was also optimistic.

"I'm hoping he'll be available Thursday," Smith said. "He feels a lot better than he did (Sunday)."

Rookie Al Afalava, who left in the second quarter Sunday and did not return, appears questionable at this point with what sounds like a shoulder stinger.

"I'm doing good," Afalava said. "It's day-to-day; there's a chance I will play."

Afalava didn't require an MRI Monday and will be re-evaluated today, based on how much he can practice.