Jay Cutler: Time not on our side

Updated: December 7, 2011, 3:56 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said he hopes to begin throwing in a few weeks as he recovers from surgery on his right thumb.

Cutler broke the thumb against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20, and has missed the past two games -- both losses as the Bears fell to 7-5, muddying their playoff chances.

"We were doing some grip stuff this past week, trying to get some flexibility and mobility back in there," Cutler said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "The next couple of weeks hopefully I'll be able to throw the football and hopefully some of this pain subsides."

During Cutler's Nov. 23 surgery, doctors inserted three screws and two pins to stabilize the right thumb. Cutler said he had an X-ray last week and had the stitches removed on Wednesday.

"Everything is kind of on track, it's just a matter of letting that bone really heal and maybe taking the pins out, maybe not," Cutler said. "It's just time and time is not really on our side right now, but that's the only thing we can really do."

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith both have said they're optimistic Cutler could return before the end of the regular season. But Cutler admitted last week that he could be done for the rest of the season because of the uncertainty in the healing process.

Cutler chose Dr. Randy Viola in Vail, Colo., to perform the surgery, and the hand, wrist and elbow specialist used a rather unorthodox technique to ensure Cutler will be able to grip the football with the pins and screws inserted.

"My biggest concern with it was -- because we were going to pin it and we were going to screw it -- and my concern and Dr. Viola's concern was that even if I got some stiffness I would be able to grip the ball normally," Cutler said. "During the surgery he brought in a sterilized football and put my hand on it after he screwed everything in and made sure my grip was where I liked it, and I would have some freedom and flexibility. He's on top of his game. I didn't go out there for nothing."

The Bears wanted Cutler to use the team surgeon, according to a Chicago Tribune report, but Cutler opted for Viola, who also is a medical consultant for the Denver Broncos.

"They wanted me to get the best treatment, and they wanted me to be comfortable," Cutler said. "They have their own guys that do this type of stuff for them in Chicago. I consulted with them, I consulted with other people around the country. Dr. Viola is the guy that I chose to go with, and if I had to do it again I would go right back to him."

Caleb Hanie has struggled in two starts in place of Cutler, throwing six interceptions in the two losses. After throwing three interceptions in the first half in a 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 27, Hanie bounced back in the second half to pass for 175 yards in the fourth quarter. But he struggled in his first home start on Sunday, failing to get the Bears in the end zone in a 10-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cutler, who said he was "coaching up" Hanie in practice, said his backup just needs to relax during games.

"Quit thinking as much. Just go out there and let it happen," Cutler said. "I think he wants to be successful. He's doing everything right during the week -- he's meeting, he's watching film, he's asking questions, he's meeting with (offensive coordinator) Mike (Martz), he's going the extra mile. So it's not that he doesn't know the information or know what he's looking at. He's just got to let it happen."

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