Cutler shared first-team reps with backup Jimmy Clausen this week, an indication the Bears are optimistic about his availability Sunday.
If they expected Cutler to sit out, they would have been best served by giving Clausen as much practice time as possible. In starting for Cutler last Sunday, Clausen completed only 9 of 17 passes for 63 yards in a 26-0 loss to the Seahawks.
Cutler injured his hamstring trying to make a tackle Sept. 20. The severity of the strain as originally diagnosed prompted the Bears to prepare to be without him for more than one game.
But Cutler is living up to his reputation as a quick healer. In 2013, the team expected him to miss at least four weeks with a groin injury, and he came back in three.
Even if Cutler expects to play at this point, his status likely won't be finalized until Sunday morning. The Bears have a walk-through Saturday, and coach John Fox's sessions the day before a game are a bit more strenuous than many other teams.
In determining whether Cutler will play, the medical staff will try to assess how well he can protect himself. As Cutler mentioned during his weekly media session Thursday, that can be difficult to predict because a player's instinctive movements during competition can't be replicated in a practice in which the quarterback is not allowed to receive contact.
Cutler's injury is one of three major ones facing the offense this week.
Left tackle Jermon Bushrod was ruled out with a shoulder injury and concussion, and Charles Leno is expected to start in his place.
Top receiver Alshon Jeffery is questionable with a hamstring injury. Jeffery worked off to the side with a strength coach Friday during the portion of practice open to media and was listed as limited.