Bears’ Johnny Knox out for rest of season, playoff hopes dim

Johnny Knox

Online Staff Report

Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox will miss the rest of the season after suffering an injury to his back in the Bears’ 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field Dec. 18.

Knox took a brutal hit from the Seahawks’ Anthony Hargrove about 4 minutes into the game. Knox had just received a pass from quarterback Caleb Hanie when Kam Chancellor knocked the ball out of his hands. Knox then dove in an attempt to retrieve the ball, but was hit by Hargrove. The hit knocked Knox backward, and Knox remained on the field for nearly 10 minutes while being tended to by medical staff. The Seahawks’ Earl Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chicago 22.

Knox’s injury is not believed to be career-threatening. A surgery scheduled for Dec. 19 will stabilize a vertebra in his lower to mid back. Recovery is expected to be three to four months.

Chicago Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said: “He has total movement throughout his body, has total use of all his extremities, which is good. We’re doing tests right now. He has total movement. He’s not paralyzed or anything.”

Knox, who has 37 receptions for 727 yards and two touchdowns, has more receiving yards than any other Bears receiver. He also has returned 15 kicks for 397 yards, a 26.5-yard average.

Knox joins starting quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb) and starting running back Matt Forte (knee) as key injuries to the Bears’ offensive unit this season. Cutler has been out since he was injured late in the Bears’ last victory, Nov. 20 against San Diego, and Forte has been out since being injured in the first quarter of a 10-3 loss to Kansas City Dec. 4.

At the time of Cutler’s injury, the Bears were one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won five-straight games. During those five wins, the Bears averaged more than 30 points per game. Since Hanie replaced the injured Cutler, the Bears have gone 0-4 and have averaged nearly 12 points per game.

The 38-14 thumping at the hands of the Seahawks Dec. 18 means the Bears, now 7-7, will likely miss the playoffs just one year after hosting the NFC Championship game.

The Bears’ remaining schedule has them at Green Bay Dec. 25 and at Minnesota Jan. 1.

The NFC playoff picture is as follows: Dallas (8-6), Green Bay (13-1), New Orleans (11-3) and San Francisco (10-3) lead their divisions and would be ensured a playoff spot if the season ended today. In the hunt for the two wild-card slots are Detroit and Atlanta, both 9-5; and the New York Giants, Chicago, Seattle and Arizona, each at 7-7.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!