Matt Forte practices, thinks he can play Monday night

AP

Bears running back Matt Forte is healing faster than expected.

Forte was back on the practice field in Chicago today, and he told reporters afterward that he was pleased that swelling in his ankle hasn’t been a problem and he expects to play on Monday night against the Cowboys.

I didn’t really swell up in the ankle, so that’s the big part. When you have an ankle injury when the swelling is big, takes a long time to get it out. But I didn’t really swell up, so I felt like I’d be back pretty soon,” Forte said.

When asked if he thinks he’s playing Monday, Forte said, “yeah.”

Bears coach Lovie Smith said Forte still has a long way to go, but Smith said he’s optimistic about Forte’s recovery.

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who has been taking it easy in practice to protect his surgically repaired knee, participated in drills at the start of practice. Defensive end Julius Peppers sat out with a foot injury. Right tackle Gabe Carimi, who calls himself The Bear Jew, took the day off for Yom Kippur.