GAME-TIME DECISION AWAITS BRIGGS: The status of injured Bears linebacker Lance Briggs will remain uncertain until just before game time Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Briggs is questionable for Sunday's game, although all indications are he'll be able to play. On Friday Briggs went through his first full practice since fracturing his left shoulder Oct. 20. Briggs practiced Wednesday and Thursday on a limited basis.
"I'm very optimistic," coach Marc Trestman said Friday. "Again, he practiced for three days. He's been cleared by the doctors.
"We'll see where he's at. But I wouldn't want to say that he's gonna play, he's gonna start. I think that's still 48 hours away."
Rookie Khaseem Greene has played in Briggs' weak side linebacker spot since the injury occurred. Briggs is the defense's signal caller, so team's hope is getting him back could restore some stability to a defense ranked last in the league against the run.
"I think No. 1 he's an emotional leader," Trestman said. "He's a tremendous football player. He's been out of it for a while. There may be some rust, there may not be. We'll see how it goes."
FORMER BEAR TO APPEAR AT BRIDGES': Former Bears running back Ronnie Bull will appear at Bridges' Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar, 121 N. Griffith Blvd., Griffith, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday during the Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles game.
Autographs are $10 each for any item brought in to be signed. Photos of Ronnie Bull will be on sale for $10 each. For details, call (219) 924-2206.
GASSER SIGNS WITH OILMEN: Northern Illinois University freshman outfielder Jason Gasser has signed to play for the Northwest Indiana Oilmen next summer.
The Times Illinois Player of the Year in 2013, Gasser, of Dyer, helped Mount Carmel win a state championship after hitting .425 with 33 runs batted in. Gasser also played for the Caravan's state champion football team.
IRISH TO PLAY AT FENWAY PARK IN 2015: Notre Dame won't play any Big Ten opponents in 2015, marking the first time since 1914 the Irish won't play a school now a member of that conference.
The Irish will play Michigan and Purdue next season, but won't play Michigan State until 2016 as it ends some of its annual rivalry games. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Friday released schedules for the next three seasons.
Notre Dame has agreed to play five games a year against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, but will play only four next season so it can keep its previously scheduled game against Northwestern. In 2015, Notre Dame will play six ACC opponents, with the extra game being a Notre Dame home game against Boston College at Fenway Park as part of its annual Shamrock Series.
PACERS SNAP 2-GAME SKID: Paul George had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 16 points, leading the Pacers to a 114-81 rout of the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
The Pacers ended their only two-game losing streak of the season and maintained their grip on the Eastern Conference's best record (21-5) with their most lopsided win of the season.
Dwight Howard finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Rockets. James Harden, the NBA's No. 6 scorer, was held in check most of the night by George, finishing with 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
Former Indiana All-Star Danny Granger received a standing ovation when he made his season debut late in the first quarter and fans chanted his name when he made his first basket, a 3-pointer, early in the fourth.
CUBS REACH DEALS WITH SANCHEZ, WADA: The Cubs say they have agreed to minor league contracts with pitchers Jonathan Sanchez and Tsuyoshi Wada and invited them to spring training.
Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter for San Francisco in 2009, struggled in five appearances with Pittsburgh last season, finishing with an 11.85 ERA with eight walks in 13 2/3 innings.
Wada played nine years with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League before signing an $8.15 million, two-year contract with Baltimore before the 2012 season. He developed elbow soreness that spring and had elbow-ligament reconstruction surgery after a tear was discovered following a rehabilitation outing for Triple-A Norfolk. He made 19 starts for Norfolk last season.
The Cubs also agreed to minor league deals with pitcher Tommy Hottovy and outfielder Mitch Maier.