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Monday, October 10, 2011
Julius Peppers returns after knee injury

By Michael C. Wright
ESPNChicago.com

DETROIT -- Defensive end Julius Peppers sustained a left knee injury in the first half of Chicago's 24-13 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday night, but the extent of the damage wasn't immediately known.

Peppers left the game early in the second half, but returned with 8:18 remaining before halftime. Walking out of the visiting locker room at Ford Field with a noticeable limp, Peppers declined to speak with reporters.

"He tried to suck it up and go back out there," Bears coach Love Smith said. "That's what you'd expect. We'll see how he is. Other than that, we came out of it fine."

Meanwhile, nose tackle Matt Toeaina left the game with a knee injury and did not return. The team didn't disclose the extent of Toeaina's injury.

A 10-year veteran, Peppers contributed one tackle before leaving the game, and with the team already experiencing depth issues at the position, it's important for the Bears to keep the veteran healthy. The Bears placed second-year defensive end Corey Wootton on the inactive list because of an arm injury, and also made rookie Mario Addison inactive for the game against the Lions.

The Bears entered the game allowing 5.1 yards per rushing attempt through the first four games, only to watch Lions running back Jahvid Best rip the club for 163 yards on 12 attempts.

If Peppers is forced to miss any time, the club's ability to stop the run could be diminished even more.

Smith didn't disclose any details about the injury, and team officials ushered Peppers out of the locker room quickly and to the team buses.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.