Forte reportedly has high ankle sprain

RB Matt Forte (Bradley Leeb/USP)

Bears RB Matt Forte is expected to miss several weeks with a lower leg injury. The team now turns to Michael Bush to carry the load and will look outside the team to fill the third RB spot.

ESPN's Adam Schefter today had this to say about Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte:

"The Bears believe running back Matt Forte suffered a high ankle sprain Thursday night vs. Green Bay, per source."

Forte rolled his ankle in the third quarter of last night's game. Bears trainers tried taping it up but he was unable to return to the game.

It's unclear how long he'll be out but the high ankle sprain is the worst of its kind. It is commonly referred to as the "dreaded high ankle sprain." This especially so for a running back, whose ability to cut is severely hindered by the injury. They are also known to linger and often recur if a runner tries to come back too soon.

Don't be surprised if Forte misses a month or more with this injury. It's a big blow to the Bears, as Forte is one of the best all-around backs in the league. He finished seventh in the league last year in yards from scrimmage, despite missing the final four contests with a knee injury, en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance.

Chicago will now turn to Michael Bush to be the full-time back. Signed this offseason to a four-year, $14 million deal, Bush is capable of being the No. 1 ball carrier. He rushed for 2,600 yard in fours seasons for the Oakland Raiders, including 977 yards last year. He rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries yesterday against the Packers.

The Bears have already begun searching for another running back to round out the roster. First reported by the Chicago Tribune, the team will bring in Steve Slaton tomorrow for a workout. Slaton, a former third round pick of the Houston Texans, rushed for 1,282 yards as a rookie in 2008. He spent three-plus seasons in Houston before being released in September last year. The Miami Dolphins waived him during final cuts this preseason.

A former third running back in Chicago, Kahlil Bell, was released before the preseason finale this year after refusing to take a $700,000 pay cut. He has not signed with another NFL team. Bell is a veteran who knows the system and is a quality special teams player. It wouldn't be surprising if the Bears give him a phone call.

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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.

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