Decision coming on Johnny Knox

Updated: July 25, 2012, 3:02 AM ET
ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said receiver Johnny Knox is making "steady progress" in his return from a back injury, and the team will make a decision soon about whether to place him on the active physically unable to perform list.

"He's able to do all the lifting, he's doing quite a bit of rehab, he's doing some light running," Emery said on Tuesday, the day before players report to training camp. "He is able to get off the assisted treadmill so he is doing those activities. He is making steady progress towards being back on the team."

Knox was injured in a game against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 18 when he scrambled to recover a fumble after a catch. He was hit by ex-Seahawks defender Anthony Hargrove and was bent backwards. Knox was carted off the field and later underwent surgery to stabilize a vertebra in his spinal column.

"Right now we're going to let that take its course, (Wednesday), and see where he's at and if he does it will be on active PUP where bring him up at anytime. We'll play that day by day. Johnny has certainly worked hard and deserves every consideration we can give him to help him get back on the field."

Bears coach Lovie Smith also advocated a wait-and-see approach for Knox's return.

"We have a conditioning test tomorrow and we expect to see our entire team out there ready to go -- except of course Johnny Knox. [He's] making progress and we'll just see how it plays out for Johnny when he'll be ready to go."

The 6-foot, 185-pound Knox lost about 30 pounds in the months following the injury and has since put some of the weight back on. He told ESPNChicago.com in June that he was back up to 170 pounds and said he is not rushing his rehab.

"There's still a ways to go," Knox said on June 21. "Just get stronger, that's my main goal right now. No rush. I'm going by what the trainers and the doctors say and that's what I'm going to go by."

A three-year veteran, Knox made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner in 2009, and led the Bears with 727 receiving yards last season.