A number of key players in the NFC North have either missed games or been limited in the early stages of 2013. Following a week when the three teams in action remained relatively healthy, the four teams could have improved injury situations moving forward. That includes the possible return of one of the division's best defensive players.
The Bears had plenty of issues in their 40-32 loss to Detroit, but injuries were not one of them. There was some concern when defensive tackle Stephen Paea was spotted in a walking boot after the game, but he suffered a minor turf toe injury and isn't expected to miss next week's game, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.
Charles Tillman, who missed practice time due to groin and knee injuries, managed to make it through the game without re-aggravating either injury. Tillman played 41 of 66 defensive snaps, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.
Rashean Mathis missed the final three quarters of Sunday's game, but the cornerback did not suffer a concussion. Instead, he was held out for precautionary reasons. Mathis worked out at the team facility on Monday, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Mathis passed his initial concussion test.
Cornerback Chris Houston suffered a leg injury against Chicago and Schwartz called him "day-to-day, week-to-week." Schwartz did not go into detail on the injury, instead he said the Lions will just wait and see how Houston responds during the week.
The Packers were on a bye last week, and the week of couldn't have come at a better time. Several key players either missed Week 3 or were injured against the Bengals. Clay Matthews and Jermichael Finley both suffered injuries against Cincinnati. Casey Hayward, Eddie Lacy and Morgan Burnett have missed time this season.
A few of those players could be close to returning as Tom Silverstein reported Burnett, Lacy and Johnathan Franklin practiced on Monday. Matthews, Finley and Hayward were among the players sitting out. Burnett missed the first three games of the season and his return would be a massive boost for the Packers' defense.
The Vikings avoided any serious injuries on Sunday against Pittsburgh and will now have a bye week to rest up. The big question is the status of Christian Ponder's ribs. He missed Sunday's game due to the injury and Matt Cassel played well in his absence.
Despite the success, coach Leslie Frazier said Ponder is still the team's quarterback, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN. How much progress Ponder makes during the off week will be a major story in Minnesota coming out of the bye.