Matt Forte aiming for 100 percent
"Day to day, I just see how it feels," Forte told ESPNChicago.com on Saturday afternoon during a physical therapy session at his home. "It's always really stiff in the morning because I've been asleep. It hurts in the morning, but once I get warmed up, I just try to see how it feels. I've been doing some straight-ahead jogging this week which has been OK, but I'm nowhere near 100 percent. So it's not looking good for next week, I know that."
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Forte, who suffered a Grade 2 sprain of the MCL in his right knee on Dec. 4th against the Kansas City Chiefs spent a portion of the afternoon rehabbing with his physical therapist, David Reavy.
"These injuries, they usually take four to six weeks [to heal] they say," Forte said. "And this will only be week three. I'm not going to rush to get back on the field and play while I'm hurt, because you're not at 100 percent you may injure it even more if you do that."
Forte knows his swollen knee, while improving, is not close to where he wants it to be.
"A lot of people were speculating about Christmas Day [against the Packers] and things like that," Forte said. "But my mindset is, realistically, playoffs would be the only thing that I would really have my mind set on."
Forte says he would consider coming back if he's not 100 percent, but those close to him obviously want him to be careful, especially given his uncertain contract status.
"You got to make that decision personally," Forte said of not returning unless he's 100 percent. "My mindset is kind of set on that. I'm not going to really go out there and play unless I'm 100 percent and I can run straight ahead and sprint and make cuts, because as a running back you have to make people miss. You can't just take on hits and get pounded on. You'll have more injuries to rehab."
That's the way Reavy feels as well. The therapist believes his client is still a least "a week or two" from playing again.
"This is my first time seeing him since the injury and the knee was still swollen," Reavy said. "I'd like to see him having no swelling and getting back to running and having some functional activities for at least a week before he plays."
Forte understands the pressure to come back is strong given how much the Bears' offense is struggling without him and quarterback Jay Cutler, but he believes that pressure would be even stronger if Cutler were still on the field.
"If Jay was playing, there would probably be even more pressure to come back and play," Forte said. "There's a lot of pressure on him to play, but he's got screws and pins in his thumb. You can't go out there and play if you're not 100 percent really. Guys can play injured and stuff, but right now I don't think it would benefit me or the team to go out there and play on a half a leg, so to speak."
Nick Friedell is a columnist and reporter for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.