There is a proverb that begins "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost". And it ends with the loss of a kingdom. It just might happen that for the loss of a thumb, a championship will be lost. Bears Coach Lovie Smith this morning confirmed reports that quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a fractured thumb on his right (throwing) hand. The injury will require surgery and should sideline Cutler for the rest of the year. Of course, Cutler is only one player. But in the Bears' scheme of things, he is THE irreplaceable player at this point in the season. Mutatis mutandis, look at the 0-10 Indianapolis Colts without their franchise quarterback, Peyton Manning.
Key injuries are part of the game of football. Sometimes, they open the door for new stars. You never know. This is how Lou Gehrig started his iron-man streak and wound up in Baseball's Hall of Fame. But Jay Cutler is not the gridiron version of Wally Pipp. This is not meant as a knock on Caleb Hanie. On the contrary, it simply is the proverbial Opportunity knocking on his door.