Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox underwent surgery on his spine late last season, after getting bent backward, or “scorpioned”, during the club’s Week 15 contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Since then, Knox has been undergoing a slow recovery, one which, according to Vaugh McClure of the Chicago Tribune, will land him on the active physically unable to perform (PUP) list to start training camp.
GM Phil Emery said yesterday this was the direction the team was headed with Knox.
“We’re going to let that take its course tomorrow and see where it’s at,” said Emery. “And if he does, it’ll be on the active PUP where we can bring him up at any time. We’ll play that day by day. Johnny’s certainly worked hard and deserves every consideration that we can give him to get healthy and get back on the field.”
WR Johnny Knox
Mike DiNovo/US Presswire
The active PUP list allows the team to elevate him at any time during the offseason.
“He’s able to do all the lifting. He’s doing quite a bit of rehab,” Emery said. “He’s doing some light running, able to get off the assisted treadmill, so he is doing those activities. He is making steady progress toward getting back on the field.”
Still, it appears Knox has a long way to go before he can begin resuming football activities.
“There’s really no timetable,” Knox said today. “We’re all taking our time on this. They’re not rushing me. I’m not rushing myself. This was a serious injury so we’re all taking our time on this.
“Each day I get better. Each week I get better. I’ve improved in different things, getting stronger all around. Still working. I’m jogging. I don’t have that same burst but that’s to be expected with this injury. But I’m jogging and moving around pretty good.”
Emery said the organization prepared for this inevitability this offseason by brining in a number of new receivers through trade, free agency and the draft.
“We have 11 wide receivers on our roster right now,” said Emery. “Certainly, we’ve filled that void in terms of we’re missing Johnny. That was part of the overall look and how we looked at the UFA market and meeting our team needs.”
Knox was Chicago’s leading receiver last season in terms of yards (727) and will be replaced in camp by Devin Hester, who is lining up as the starter opposite Brandon Marshall. By the end of the season, it’s likely that rookie Alshon Jeffery will have assumed the starting role.
For now, Knox will continue his rehab in the hopes of eventually making it back to 100 percent, something he’s confident will happen.
“At first, I knew it was going to be hard to run but now I’m running better than I thought I would,” Knox said. “I’m getting my weight back a little bit more. Doing heavier weights in the weight room. I’m doing good.”
If the Bears choose to place Knox on the regular season PUP list, which is very likely, he’ll miss at least the first six weeks of the season. The organization then will have three weeks to decide whether to activate him or place him on injured reserve.
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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.