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Friday, December 19, 2008
Black and Blue all over: The truth on Orton's ankle

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

It's interesting that some members of the Chicago Bears are now admitting how limited quarterback Kyle Orton was upon his quick return to the lineup last month.

Orton's first game back after spraining his right ankle was Nov. 16 against Green Bay, when he completed 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards in a 37-3 loss. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner, for one, said Orton's ankle impacted his play more than coaches realized it would. Here's what Turner said this week, according to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald:

"We've obviously looked at that tape a bunch, and I don't know if we realized going into it that he was going to be as bad as he was injury-wise. He couldn't move at all. He couldn't push off it to throw. I think his timing and everything else, his confidence right now, is so much better than it was at that time."

Turner's sentiments could be viewed as a defensive mechanism for a quarterback that hasn't been as productive since the injury. But there is no disputing the numbers. We'll get into it in more detail over the next few hours, but Orton's passer rating is 67.8 after the injury as opposed to 90.1 before.

It's more likely Turner's sentiments are genuine, which make them an admission that the Bears overestimated the condition of Orton's ankle prior to the Packers game. Either that, or they decided they would rather have a significantly limited Orton at quarterback than a healthy Rex Grossman. Probably a combination of both.

Let's continue our spin around the NFC North: