Johnny Knox being patient

Updated: July 25, 2012, 6:21 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears placed receiver Johnny Knox on the active/physically unable to perform list as he continues rehabilitation from back surgery.

Knox contends he's making progress, but admits "there's really no timetable" for a full recovery. He said he's doing some light jogging, in addition to gradually increasing his weight and strength.

"I'm still working. I don't have that same burst that I used to have," he said. "But that's to be expected with this injury. I'm jogging, moving around pretty good."

Knox suffered a fractured vertebra on Dec. 18 that required surgery. The injury came on a devastating hit from Seattle Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove that bent Knox back awkwardly. In the aftermath, Knox lay motionless on the turf at Soldier Field for several minutes as medical personnel tended to him.

Knox admitted the experience was "frightening" but added an optimistic outlook has helped him to cope.

"Right now, I'm setting small goals, taking it a little bit at a time," he said. "At first, I knew it was gonna be hard to run. But now, I'm running better than I thought I would, getting my weight back a little more, doing heavier weights in the weight room. So I'm doing good."

Prior to the injury, the club listed Knox at 185 pounds, but the receiver admits he lost about 30 pounds in the months after his surgery. A three-year veteran, Knox earned Pro Bowl recognition in 2009 as a kick returner, and is coming off a 2011 season in which he led the team with 729 receiving yards.

Knox indicated he's experienced difficult days thus far in his recovery.

"Honestly, (there have) been days where I've been down," Knox said. "But for the most part, I always stay positive, stay motivated. That's why I'm out here today getting better. It means a lot to me (to be around teammates). Even though I'm injured, I'm so excited to come down here and be around the guys all day, every day, and just focus on just strictly rehabbing."

Fellow receiver Devin Hester says he's noticed a gradual change in Knox's confidence throughout the rehabilitation process, but he is more concerned with his teammate's long-term health than a quick return to the football field.

Throughout Knox's ordeal, he and Hester remained in close contact.

"He's gradually getting better. His confidence is totally building up," Hester said. "He understands the situation he's in right now. So I think that's a good (outlook for) Johnny, that he knows what his position is right now, and what it takes to get back to where he wants to be. Just him being around us is building his confidence up to get back out there even more. With that type of injury, you want to make sure you're O.K. before you even think about football. So I know that's in the back of his mind."

General manager Phil Emery acknowledged that Knox is making "steady progress" on Tuesday, but the club plans to take the receiver's recovery day by day. By placing Knox on the active PUP list, the Bears can activate him at any time.

For Knox, that time can't come soon enough.

"Most definitely, I will (come back 100 percent)," Knox said. "We're all taking our time on this. They're not rushing me. I'm not rushing myself. This was a serious injury."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

MORE NFL HEADLINES