Bears first-round draft pick Roquan Smith did not finish practice Tuesday after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring.
Coach Matt Nagy described the decision to shut down Smith for the day as "more precautionary than anything" and said that the he "most likely" would have continued to practice had the same situation occurred during the middle of the regular season.
"The biggest thing right now for us, when you're not that far in with him right now, we have to be a little bit careful because we don't know where he's at," Nagy said. "So anytime you end up having something like this, where you just feel even the slightest thing, we want to make sure that we're being smart about it."
The Bears have been cautious with Smith since he ended a 29-day contract holdout by signing a four-year deal last Tuesday. He participated in a walkthrough last Tuesday and joint practices with the Broncos last Wednesday and Thursday. But the rookie linebacker from Georgia did not play in Saturday night's preseason game in Denver.
"That's exactly why we do what we do," Nagy said after Tuesday's practice. "If you put him in early and he's not ready, then something like this happens where it gets worse. So we just want to be precautionary with it."
Nagy said that Smith "could absolutely" practice Wednesday. But the coach was unsure how the hamstring tightness will affect Smith's chances of making his preseason debut Saturday when the Bears host the Chiefs at Soldier Field.
"I don't know," Nagy said. "It's probably an hour-by-hour thing right now, where he's at. We've just got to see how he responds tomorrow and have a better idea."
Nagy doesn't think that Smith's hamstring tightness necessarily will keep him from playing in the regular-season opener Sept. 9 in Green Bay, but the coach conceded "it will be close."
"For him right now, the benefit with him not being on the field, he's at least in the meetings and he's out here on the field," Nagy said. "But if you're going to play, it's going to be a benefit for you to be out there on the field. We're not going to put anybody out there that doesn't feel like they're 100 percent mentally and physically. But it's going to be close, for sure, without a doubt."
Asked what he needs to see from Smith to convince him that the rookie is ready for the regular season, Nagy said: "On the field; that's the first part, right? And then the next part is just him feeling comfortable, making sure he's making the right calls and he's not making mental mistakes."