Bears' Brandon Hardin hurts neck

Updated: August 19, 2012, 8:43 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bears rookie safety Brandon Hardin was carted off the field on Saturday after suffering a neck injury early in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins.

He did not return.

Hardin appeared to lead with his head while making a tackle on Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen at the end of a 19-yard completion.

"Injury-wise, when you see a player get taken off on a stretcher it is not a good thing," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "I think Brandon Hardin will be OK. He was moving everything. He was alert, conscious throughout. So hopefully everything will be OK with him."

Trainers eventually immobilized Hardin's neck and placed him on a stretcher.

As the trainers carted him off the field, Hardin could be seen moving his arms. In addition, the third-round pick out of Oregon State gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he came off the field.

Hardin was hospitalized before being released Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reported. All major tests came back clear, according to the newspaper.

In addition to Hardin, Bears safety Chris Conte crashed to the turf with a shoulder injury after making a tackle on Redskins running back Evan Royster in the second quarter. Conte did not return.

"Chris Conte hurt his (right) shoulder," Smith said. "I do not know the extent of the injury. I don't think it is too bad."

The other injury of note on Saturday night occurred in the second quarter when Bears punter Adam Podlesh suffered what Smith called a hip flexor. Podlesh tweaked his hip on Brandon Banks' 91-yard touchdown return. Podlesh left the field immediately after the play and did not return. Smith said Podlesh "should be OK."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter