Lovie not worried about Cutler's rib injury

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
12:49
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CHICAGO -- Jay Cutler suffered a rib injury on his right side Monday during the Chicago Bears' 13-7 win over the Detroit Lions when he was sacked in Ndamukong Suh, and underwent x-rays in the locker room before returning to play the remainder of the game.

[+] EnlargeJay Cutler
Jerry Lai/US PresswireJay Cutler completed 16 of 31 passes for 150 yards and one touchdown Monday.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said the team will continue to evaluate the injury, but added he doesn't "think anyone is hurt seriously where they'll miss any time."

"Of course, that's just a normal part of our protocol if a player has an injury; to monitor it, to evaluate it more (Tuesday) to see," Smith said. "I'll say most of our guys will be sore today. But yeah, we'll continue to evaluate him. Hopefully he'll be OK."

Cutler admitted the sack by Suh in the second quarter knocked the wind out of him. With 5:06 remaining in the first half, Suh -- with his right arm and elbow pinned against Cutler's helmet -- slammed the quarterback backward to the ground for an 8-yard sack.

Writhing in pain, Cutler stayed on the field for a few minutes before leaving on his own power with backup Jason Campbell entering in relief. Campbell scrambled for a 5-yard gain on the next play. Then on third down, Cutler came back out on the field, drawing loud applause from the crowd before incomplete to Devin Hester on the play, forcing the Bears to punt.

"He took a tough shot," Earl Bennett said. "He's one of those guys that no matter how beat up he is, he wants to get back in there and help us win the game."


Just before intermission, Cutler walked back to the locker room for further evaluation. Cutler said the team performed x-rays, and when asked whether he took a painkilling injection prior to returning in the second half, the quarterback said, "We did some stuff back here with the doctors."

Cutler finished the game with a passer rating of 76, after a first half in which he completed 9 of 17 for 69 yards and a 7-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall on the team's first drive.

Cutler and Smith never divulged the results of the x-rays, but the coach said, "We wouldn't put a player out there if there was any danger involved (with) it."

Cutler admitted the injury affected his accuracy in the second half, but added that Suh's hit was clean.

"I thought I was gone. Then he got a hold of me," Cutler said. "From that point, I knew it wasn't gonna end well."

Smith called the sack that injured Cutler a matter of Suh "playing hard, trying to win the game."

"No one's trying to hurt anyone or anything like that," Smith said. "It was just a tough, hard-nosed game."

Suh said he was just trying to chase down Cutler.

"Simply a football play," Suh said. "I can't control my momentum. Especially at that high speed. I'm chasing him. He's running away from me. My whole goal is just to get the quarterback down and make a play and get us off the field or move on to the next play.

Smith credited Cutler for his toughness, saying "that's what you should have as your Chicago Bears quarterback," while adding that Monday's outing "was a gutsy effort by him."

But despite Cutler's reputation for the ability to play through punishment, the quarterback has suffered injuries that forced him out of action and ultimately hurt the team.

Cutler sprained a knee which forced him out of the NFC Championship in 2010, and missed the final six games of 2011 after breaking a thumb as the team finished with five losses over the final six outings.

"It definitely scared us when he went down," said Marshall, who finished with six catches for 81 yards.

Cutler said he wasn't fitted for a protective flak jacket after undergoing x-rays because he already wears one.

"I feel alright right now. I think probably later in the week it's gonna be a little difficult," Cutler said. "(The injury) was on the right side. So trying to get my right side through was a little bit tough. I missed some throws, wasn't exactly feeling 100 percent. But we had to kind of fight through it. The way our defense was playing, we were just trying to kind of drag out the game."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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