Chicago Bears: Injury Updates — Matt Forte, Eddie Royal

Matt Forte (Chicago Bears) and Harrison Smith (Minnesota Vikings)

On top of losing 23-20 to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Chicago Bears looked to have lost even more when both Matt Forte and Eddie Royal were injured before the game ended. Early reports seem to indicate that Forte and Royal will be able to play for the Bears again before the end of the season.

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Matt Forte was injured in the third quarter of the Bears’ Week 8 game against the Vikings. Although they have yet to give a final word, Chicago believes that Forte damaged a medial collateral ligament (MCL). This isn’t as bad as if he had damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which some had feared. Matt Forte — generally considered one of the best running backs in the NFL today — was injured when Minnesota safety Harrison Smith brought him down on a short pass play. Forte limped off the field, unassisted. Although he hasn’t been putting up stats like some of the premiere backs in the league, Matt will be sorely missed from the Vikings offensive line-up.

As of Monday, Chicago Bears head coach John Fox would not disclose any specifics about Forte’s injuries, pending further evaluation.

This season, Forte has run the ball the fourth most of any running back in the league (136 carries) and has the eighth most total rushing yards (548). Matt is a two-time Pro-Bowler. The game against the Vikings was Forte’s 52nd consecutive start for the Chicago Bears.

Unable to give any specifics on when the Bears expect Matt Forte to be back, as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times, coach Fox simply said, “We’ll update when we reconvene later in the week.” It is unclear how this development may impact the recent Matt Forte trade rumors.

“Right now the feeling is… I don’t see it being season-ending on either one,” Fox said, referring to the injuries of both Forte and Royal. “The outlook for receiver Eddie Royal, who injured his left knee Sunday, is similar to Forte’s.” Although the exact point of injury is unclear in Royal’s case, he caught three passes for two yards in the first half. He was replaced by Marc Mariani for his left knee injury.

So far this season, Royal has had 26 receptions for 171 yards and a single touchdown. His eighth year in the league, this is Eddie Royal’s first year as a Chicago Bear. He spent his first four years with the Denver Broncos, before spending the next three years with the San Diego Chargers. Statistically, he has yet to do as well as his rookie year, when he had 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns.

Again, no specifics were given for either Matt Forte’s or Eddie Royal’s expected returns; although, neither appear to have season-ending injuries.

The Matt Forte injury is much more likely to cause waves in the fantasy football world than the Eddie Royal injury. A strong running back is a hard position to fill, and Forte’s injury may be a little more serious than Royal’s. According to the fantasy football reports for Matt Forte and Eddie Royal at NFL.com, Royal is currently listed as “iffy” for next week’s game. If he is out, it’s likely that Marquess Wilson or Marc Mariani will take his place. The report for Forte seems less optimistic, noting that Jeremy Langford is likely to start for the Bears in Week 9.

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The Chicago Bears schedule has them traveling to Eddie Royal’s old stomping grounds in Week 9 as they face the San Diego Chargers. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 PM PST and will air on ESPN.

[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]