On third play of Chicago's second drive yesterday, Johnny Knox caught a 17-yard post pattern from Caleb Hanie, yet was stripped of the ball. As he dove into the scrum to try and recover the fumble, Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove hit Knox and bent his body backward at a dangerous angle.
Knox lay on the field for several minutes before being placed on a spinal board and carted off the field. He showed movement from his arms and legs as he lay on the cart and gave the fans a thumbs up before heading into the tunnel.
There was no damage to his neck, yet Knox will undergo back surgery today to stabilize a vertebrae in his back. He'll likely be out 4-8 weeks yet should be able to resume playing football once he heals -- a lucky prognosis for a player that was bent almost completely backward.
"Johnny has total movement throughout his body, has total use of all his extremities," said coach Lovie Smith after the game. "He is not paralyzed or anything like that."
A team spokesman said there is positive prognosis for his playing career and his quality of life.
Knox is just the most recent in a long line of injuries that have disabled this team. He leads all Bears players this year with 727 receiving yards. In the past five weeks, Chicago has lost its starting quarterback, running back and leading receiver. Those wondering why the team has lost four straight, look no further.
Forte not close to returning
Matt Forte, who suffered a sprained MCL three weeks ago, told ESPNChicago.com that his knee isn't progressing as well as he'd like.
"I've been doing some straight-ahead jogging this week which has been OK, but I'm nowhere near 100 percent," Forte said. "So it's not looking good for next week, I know that."
As of now, it doesn't appear Forte will be back this season.
"A lot of people were speculating about Christmas Day [against the Packers] and things like that," he said of his possible return date. "But my mindset is, realistically, playoffs would be the only thing that I would really have my mind set on."
With the Bears having lost four in a row, their chances of making the playoffs have been flushed down the toilet. So there's no reason to bring Forte back early and risk a re-injury.
Don't expect 22 on the field until next year.
Frustration boiling over
Bears players expressed a lot of irritation in the post-game locker room after yesterday's 38-14 loss to the Seahawks, the team's fourth straight defeat. Since winning five in a row, the club has been ravaged by injury, from which they haven't been able to overcome.
"All those losses are extremely tough to swallow," said Israel Idonije. "It's just been disappointing because of the talent we have. Yeah, we've had some tough breaks. Losing Jay [Cutler], losing Matt [Forte], it's just been unfortunate, because this is a good team. We're better than that."
Chicago's players know that, had they not lost a number of key performers, this season would have turned out much differently, which only adds to their collective frustration.
"I'm mad," Brian Urlacher said. "This is not our team. This is not how we're supposed to play. This is not how we should play. Doesn't matter who is playing quarterback."
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.