Johnny Knox headed to PUP list
WR Johnny Knox (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
WR Johnny Knox (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)
Bear Report Publisher
Posted Mar 26, 2012

Johnny Knox, Chicago’s leading receiver last year, is still recovering from a spine injury suffered late last season. He reportedly will start 2012 on the physically unable to perform list.

In the first quarter of last season’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox caught a pass down the left seam. He then cut inside but lost control of the ball. As the pigskin tumbled on the turf, Knox dove for it and was bent backward in a brutal collision. Knox was hit so hard the back of his head nearly touched his waist.

He had spinal fusion surgery shortly thereafter. It was a one-level vertebral fusion, which initially called for three to four months before Knox could even walk correctly.

Since then, doctors have also found structural damage, which will send him to the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and could cost him the 2012 season. The Chicago Tribune first reported the news.

WR Johnny Knox
Mike Dinovo/US Presswire

On the PUP list, Knox will be out for the first six weeks of the year. At that point, the club has a three-week window in which to activate him to the 53-man roster. If he’s not healthy enough for activation by Week 9, the club must place him on the injured reserve list, ending his season.

Knox was Chicago’s leading wide receiver last year in both catches (37) and receiving yards (727). His vertical speed has always been used to stretch opposing defenses, forcing them to respect the deep pass. It’s a crucial role, especially given the attention secondaries must now pay Brandon Marshall. A burner on the other side of the field is going to have a lot of big-play opportunities.

Knowing now that Knox will miss at least six games this year is a plus for the Bears. There’s no gray area here. The front office and coaches must prepare for the very real possibility he may not see action in 2012.

Time to move on without him. If he comes back in Week 7, it’s gravy. But to expect much of anything from him at this point seems like a stretch.

Plan B must take effect immediately, whether that be inserting Devin Hester or newcomer Eric Weems into Knox’s role, signing another free agent or drafting a speedy receiver. The team has plenty of time to find an alternate solution and have that plan in place come training camp.

Follow me on Twitter: @BearReport

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of Bear Report magazine and and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

Related Stories
Johnny Knox: "I'm taking my time"
 -by  May 24, 2012
Knox placed on active PUP list
 -by  Jul 25, 2012
Filling the void left by Knox injury
 -by  Mar 26, 2012

Subscribe today and get a full year of Bear Report Magazine with an annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
WR Johnny Knox (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Abilene Christian > Alumni
Football > Chicago > Injury
Football > Tyler > Alumni
[View My HotList]