Originally published Monday, November 21, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Broken thumb could sideline Chicago's Jay Cutler rest of season

Doctors listen to sports-talk radio, too. After hearing questions Monday over the airwaves wondering why Bears quarterback Jay Cutler can't...

quotes This could be huge for the Seahawks. They need Chicago and several other teams to lose... Read more


CHICAGO — Doctors listen to sports-talk radio, too.

After hearing questions Monday over the airwaves wondering why Bears quarterback Jay Cutler can't play with a broken thumb in his throwing hand the way Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is, Dr. Mark Cohen offered a second opinion.

It doesn't mean Big Ben has a bigger threshold for pain. It simply means Cutler has a different injury.

"Jay Cutler having the surgery now means the bone is broken and shifted or displaced and is not what they call a stable fracture," said Cohen, a hand surgeon at Chicago's Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. "It's an unstable fracture. On those you can't wait because they'll heal crooked or won't heal properly. The guy had a significant thumb injury and he's got to have the bone fixed so the bone can heal. He has no choices. The doctors have no choices. This is cut-and-dried."

Cutler will undergo surgery on his broken thumb as early as Tuesday and Bears coach Lovie Smith expressed hope that his starting quarterback could return before the end of the regular season. That six-week projection sounded optimistic to Cohen.

"It will take the bone four to six weeks to heal and he will need at least a couple of weeks to get his mobility back and be able to grip a football with that thumb even after the six weeks," Cohen said. "I don't know the details of the schedule, but to me the earliest possible return to play for an injury like that is closer to eight weeks."

Caleb Hanie will start in Cutler's place.


• Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has no structural damage to his right forearm and elbow. Whether the former Seahawk plays against Tampa Bay will be determined by how comfortable the veteran is throwing the ball.

Coach Mike Munchak said tests were negative and Hasselbeck's injury is more of a muscle strain in the forearm. Hasselbeck was hurt during the 23-17 loss in Atlanta when he hit his arm on a defender's helmet. Hasselbeck is sore, and Munchak said the veteran will be day to day for practice and likely will sit out at least Wednesday.

Whether rookie Jake Locker, the former Washington Huskies star, makes his first career start for Tennessee (5-5) remains to be seen.

• Jets coach Rex Ryan will not appeal a $75,000 fine issued by the NFL for using profanity while angrily responding to a fan at halftime of New York's 37-16 loss to New England last Sunday. Ryan received an official notice from commissioner Roger Goodell in the morning.

• San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson insists his fight with Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet was a one-time transgression and said he addressed teammates and coaches after Sunday's 23-7 win over Arizona regarding the mistake.

At the end of a play early in the fourth quarter, Goldson, the former Husky, was down away from the ball when he got blindsided and slapped on the back of the helmet by Doucet. Goldson jumped up, confronted him and both began swinging wildly. Goldson threw a series of punches to Doucet's facemask and received a 15-yard personal foul penalty before being ejected.

Injury report
Player, position Team Injury Prognosis
Jay Cutler, QB Bears Thumb Out 6-8 weeks
Matt Hasselbeck, QB Titans Right arm Uncertain
Adrian Peterson, RB Vikings Ankle Uncertain
D. Heyward-Bey, WR Raiders Neck Uncertain
Dan Williams, NT Cardinals Arm Out for season
Terrence McGee, CB Bills Knee Out for season
Fred Jackson, RB Bills Calf Uncertain

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