The Chicago Bears placed right guard Lance Louis on injured reserve Monday, effectively ending his season, after he suffered a reported anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
A Bears’ spokesperson confirmed the placement on I.R. via email, while Chicago Tribune is citing sources as to the nature of the injury.
Louis got injured following what former NFL Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira called an “illegal blindside block,” on which Jared Allen launched his shoulder into the head of Louis. On the play, it appeared as if Louis’ left foot was firmly planted as Allen hit him, causing his leg to twist at the knee.
While Allen defended the block saying, “I thought it was a legal hit,” Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith said the League could do without the play. “Jared Allen plays the game a certain way,” Smith said. “He’s a good player in our League. But I think there are some plays, when you look at them again, you say, ‘Hey, we could have done without that.’ I think our game could do without that play.”
Without Louis, the Bears will now have to look outside the organization to add depth to a depleted offensive line after left guard Chilo Rachal left the team last week, and veteran Chris Spencer also left Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Spencer will have an MRI to determine the extent of his injury on Monday.
No matter who the Bears bring in, it’s likely they’ll look to their current roster to fill the existing holes, but replacing Lance Louis will not be easy. A case could easily be made that Louis has been the team’s best lineman all season.
RT Gabe Carimi, who had been benched in favor of Jonathan Scott, saw some time at right guard on Sunday and it would not be surprising to see the Bears stick with that configuration, as he appeared to perform well under the circumstances.
It was an inability to overcome injuries that thwarted the Bears’ run at the playoffs last season. Although that was their starting quarterback. Hopefully, they can overcome these.
It's important to note that Louis is a free agent in 2013, and given the reported nature of his injury, he may not be ready to return by the start of next season.