Johnny Knox to undergo back surgery

Updated: December 19, 2011, 1:02 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Bears receiver Johnny Knox will have surgery to stabilize a vetebra in his lower- to mid-back after being taken from the field on a cart in the opening minutes of Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

He has a "positive prognosis for his career and quality of life," according to the Bears. The surgery is scheduled for Monday.

"He has total movement throughout his body, has total use of all his extremities, which is good," coach Lovie Smith said. "We're doing tests right now. He has total movement. He's not paralyzed or anything."

[+] EnlargeJohnny Knox
Mike Dinovo/US PresswireJohnny Knox will have back surgery Monday after sustaining a violent hit against Seattle.

Knox had just caught a pass from Caleb Hanie about four minutes into Sunday's game when Kam Chancellor poked the ball out of his hands. As Knox made a diving attempt to retrieve the ball, he was hit by Anthony Hargrove and got bent backward. He stayed down for close to 10 minutes while being tended to by medical personnel.

The Seahawks' Earl Thomas recovered the fumble at the Chicago 22.

Knox was eventually placed on a stretcher and taken from the field on a cart, putting his hands over his face and wiggling his fingers as he left the field. He was taken to a hospital, but Smith would not say if he's spending the night there.

Smith would not put a timetable on Knox's return, saying, "I have no idea. Right now, we're just glad he's OK and we'll continue to monitor him, evaluate him. That's about all I can say right now."

The injury to Knox was just another blow for a team that lost Jay Cutler (broken thumb) and Matt Forte (sprained knee) in recent weeks and was trying to get over the shock of receiver Sam Hurd's arrest on federal drug charges in the days leading up to this game.

Late in the half, Bears safety Chris Conte suffered a foot injury trying to tackle Seattle's Justin Forsett and left the game. Conte is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday.

Veteran Brandon Meriweather replaced Conte at free safety for the Bears' final few defensive plays of the first half. The secondary already was without starting safety Major Wright, who has missed the last two weeks due to a shoulder sprain.

Conte, the Bears' 2011 third-round draft choice out of California, made his ninth consecutive start Sunday. Entering play versus the Seahawks, the rookie ranked ninth on the team with 44 total tackles. He intercepted a pass in the Bears' win over Tampa Bay in London on Oct. 23.

The Seahawks didn't come away from this game unscathed, either, with receiver Mike Williams suffering a broken ankle when he was tackled after a catch in the third quarter.

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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