Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears have received some good news in regard to the thumb injury that forced Cutler to leave the game during Monday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday afternoon that Cutler’s injury is merely a sprain of the thumb on his throwing hand and not anything more serious.
Bears’ head coach John Fox did not go into specifics about Cutler’s injury or his status for the team’s Week 3 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he did say that Cutler will not need surgery for the injury, at least right now. However, Fox did not rule out surgery for Cutler at some point.
Following Monday’s loss to the Eagles, ESPN reported that Cutler was concerned about the injury. Cutler admitted that he aggravated the injury early in the third quarter, but stayed in the game even though it affected his ability to grip the ball. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that Cutler left the game to have his injured thumb examined in the locker room.
Before leaving the game, Cutler completed 12 of his 17 passes for 157 yards. However, Cutler also made two critical turnovers in the game. Early in the third quarter, Cutler fumbled the ball on a sack by Philadelphia’s Destiny Vaeao, the play on which Cutler says he aggravated his thumb. Later in the quarter, Cutler threw an interception to Eagles’ linebacker Nigel Bradham. Those two turnovers were too much for the Bears to overcome in their 29-14 loss to the Eagles.
The interception Cutler threw to Bradham was his final play before returning to the locker room to have his thumb injury examined. However, before making it to the locker room, Cutler was confronted on the sidelines by teammate Pernell McPhee. As you can tell by the clip below, via Chicago Sports New, McPhee was not pleased with Cutler’s performance and had a few heated words for the quarterback. Only accomplished lip readers will know for sure what McPhee said to Cutler.
Cutler said after the game that he wasn’t bothered by McPhee’s outburst.
“He’s a passionate guy. Everyone has a lot invested into this, and he does as well. No one likes to lose. No one likes to lose in that fashion. He’s upset. I’m upset. Everyone in that locker room is upset right now, Cutler said. “But, the good thing is that we have a lot of good guys in there, and we have a bunch of good coaches, and we have 14 games left.”
McPhee, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list, was not available to the media afterward, so it’s unknown whether he knew that Cutler’s thumb was already bothering him at the time of the interception.
Cutler was replaced in the game by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, who completed nine of his 12 passes for 78 yards. However, he was unable to lead the Bears on a comeback after Cutler departed due to injury. Fox praised Hoyer for his performance Monday night and appears to be comfortable with the veteran quarterback if he needs to start this week in place of the injured Cutler.
Fox says the Bears will take things one day at a time in regard to who plays quarterback Sunday against the Cowboys. Reps with the first-team offense are likely to be at least split between Cutler and Hoyer this week as there is no specific timetable for Cutler’s return from his thumb injury. Cutler could feel fine this weekend and start against the Cowboys, or he could need a few weeks for the thumb to heal.
It may actually behoove the Bears to sit Cutler for a week or two, using his injury as an excuse to take him off the field, even if he feels healthy enough to play. Cutler has been turnover prone throughout his career and playing with even a minor thumb injury is only going to make it harder for him to take care of the football.
The Bears also face the possibility of starting the 2016 season 0-3 if they lose Sunday to the Cowboys. Coming off a rough game Monday night with his thumb bothering him, Cutler may not be Chicago’s best option to get a win on Sunday. While it’s ultimately good news that Cutler is likely to be back sooner rather than later from his thumb injury, it doesn’t mean he should face Dallas in Week 3.
[Featured Image by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]