Chris Spencer injures hand

Updated: October 3, 2011, 1:41 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Injuries continued to pile up for the Chicago Bears with backup Chris Spencer -- who started at right guard for Lance Louis -- leaving Sunday's 34-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter with a hand injury.

Bears coach Lovie Smith confirmed Monday that Spencer suffered a minor fracture in his hand. Smith sounded optimistic that Spencer, who returned in the second half, would be ready to play against the Detroit Lions next Monday night.

"Whenever you have a player finish the game, you feel pretty good about him going into the next one," Smith said. "But that's all we know right now. Playing on Monday night, we have a little more time this week. Hopefully he'll be good to go."

A seven-year veteran, Spencer started the season as the backup at center to Roberto Garza, but moved into the starting lineup in the season opener at right guard when Louis sprained his right ankle.

Louis returned last week, but the team opted to keep Spencer in the starting lineup because it didn't want to disrupt chemistry along the offensive line. Upon Spencer's injury on Sunday, Louis returned to the right guard spot, and helped the Bears on their second scoring drive, which included the club's first rushing touchdown of the season, a 17-yard run by Matt Forte.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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