Bears' Lance Louis to injured reserve
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Bears guard Lance Louis was put on injured reserve on Monday after hurting his knee while being blocked by Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, and Chicago coach Lovie Smith believes the NFL "could do without that play."
Midstride while chasing down Antoine Winfield, who had just picked off a pass from Jay Cutler, Louis planted his left foot into the turf at the precise moment when Allen launched off both feet to deliver a crushing blow on the offensive lineman that caused him to leave the game with a knee injury. A source familiar with the situation said Louis has an ACL tear.
Waddle & Silvy: The Jay Cutler Show
Jay Cutler talks about the Bears win against the Vikings, his penalty for flipping the ball, the injuries to the O-line and more.
Smith and Bears defensive end Israel Idonije deemed the hit "unnecessary" shortly before the club officially placed Louis on the injured reserve.
"I'm sure (Allen's) gonna get fined for it," Cutler said Monday during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000.
"I like Jared," Cutler said. "I've known Jared since we played against him in (Kansas City while) I was at Denver," Cutler said. "He's a great competitor. I think he's a good teammate. I'd like to play with him. But you just don't like to see those things."
The NFL definitely will look into Allen's hit, as it does on all plays that cause injury. Allen might face league discipline in the form of fines or maybe even a suspension, considering he was fined a total of $75,000 in 2008 for two hits deemed illegal. Just last week Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed successfully appealed a one-game suspension for repeated instances over three years of illegal hits.
"Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league. I think there are some plays when you look at them again, you say, 'Hey, we could have done without that,'" Smith said. "I think our game could do without that play. We have an injured player right now based on it. I think he could have gotten blocked a little bit differently.
"But that's about all I can probably say about it. I'm sure the league will look at it and give another opinion about what they think."
Allen considered the hit legal and said, "I never intentionally try to hurt anybody."
"I turned around, he was running to make a tackle, and I threw myself into him to make a block," Allen explained. "My condolences to him and his family. I'm just trying to make a block and spring our guy down the sideline."
Having been in similar situations blocking for a teammate on an interception, Idonije explained that earlier in his career when blindside shots like Allen's were legal, "it was the judgment of the players" and that "I'd contact a guy, knock him off his feet" because "you'd want to get knockdowns" due to such plays being "a part of establishing a physical aspect of play that we were known for."
"Now, the game is different. If a player isn't looking or if you're coming at an angle where he can't see you, you can't contact him on the side of the head," Idonije said. "You can't do it. That's the rule. So I wouldn't do it."
Idonije declined to admonish Allen for the hit and explained that with today's rules, players simply have "to change the way you play."
"That doesn't mean you change who you are, your identity as a player," Idonije said. "But you have to play within the rules. Put me in that exact situation, I would play it differently just because I wouldn't want to get a penalty. I wouldn't say he should have known better. But the way you play has to adapt and has to adjust with the rules of the game. That's just how it is."
On Monday, Smith didn't provide updates to injuries to Devin Hester (concussion), Matt Forte (ankle), Charles Tillman (ankle), Chris Spencer (knee). A source familiar with the injury tells ESPN's Adam Schefter that Tillman's ankle is not serious and he could play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
A four-year NFL veteran, Louis was enjoying possibly his best season with the Bears. He was in talks with the organization about a contract extension before the injury. It's unclear when those talks will resume. Louis' rookie contract is set to expire after the 2012 season.
Before the IR news was announced, Cutler said Monday that replacing Louis would be difficult.
"Lance has been solid for the last couple of years," Cutler said. "He cares deeply about his performance and the offensive line's performance. He's kind of the rock out there, so to lose him, it would be tough. I haven't really heard exactly what the extent of the injury is. Hopefully we get him back. If not, there's going to be a big hole to fill."
ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.