Bears running back Marion Barber, out of action the last 17 days with a left calf muscle injury, is expected to return to practice Wednesday.
Smith said “soon” when inquired concerning the timetable for Barber’s return, and it’s too soon to accurately decide Barber’s status for the 0-1 Saints.
But if practice goes well this week, Barber could see the turf at the Superdome. Barber looked strong during the preseason, and the Bears added him with a vision toward using him during short-yardage and goal-line situations.
“He’s had a little bit of time off of it,” Smith said. “Hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”
The Bears succeeded on one of three red-zone opportunities Sunday against the Falcons, cashing in on on Jay Cutler’s 1-yard pass to tight end Matt Spaeth on a play-action fake. A well-designed call for tight end Kellen Davis wasn’t executed when Cutler overshot him on a pass across the field.
Louis out: Starting right guard Louis suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter against the Falcons on Sunday, an injury that could keep him out of action for more than a month. Chris Spencer, who replaced Louis against Atlanta, will likely replace him at right guard in the Big Easy for Week two’s contest.
Hurd update: Wide receiver Sam Hurd also could be back in New Orleans. He was out Sunday with an ankle injury.
When he returns, expect Hurd to find a niche in red-zone situations. The Bears eye him as more of a receiving weapon than the Cowboys did, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Hurd is an solid run blocker.