The Chicago Tribune’s Vaughn McClure is reporting Bears’ WR Johnny Knox will start the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as he continues to recovers from surgery to stabilize broken vertebra in his lower back.
Immediately following the gruesome on-field injury last December, multiple surgeons had said the minimum amount of time a player could be expected to return to “football related activity” after an injury of that nature was six months.
And while the Bears had been optimistic about Knox’s return, reality began to set in at the NFL Combine when Knox’s agent Marc Lillibridge said Johnny’s quality of life was currently “as good as it could be.”
That was two months post-surgery.
McClure cites sources now claiming there was more structural damage to Knox’s lower back than initially anticipated. Also, according to the source, Knox continues to walk with a limp.
The Bears, however, appear to have been planning for life without Johnny Knox in 2012, signing kick returner Eric Weems in free agency and bolstering the WR position by acquiring Brandon Marshall via a trade from Miami.
Should the Bears place Knox on the PUP list to start the season, they will have the opportunity to activate him if at any time he’s able to return. McClure, however, said there’s a strong chance Knox will not play at all in 2012.
With Knox entering the final year of his contract with the Bears, the idea that he may never play football in Chicago again now seems more and more likely.
Knox is due to make $1.26 million in 2012, and, according to the CBA, he’d be due his full salary if he’s placed on the team’s PUP list.