Matt Forte's injury on Sunday -- the running back left in the first quarter after Derrick Johnson tackled him -- might have backed the Bears season into a corner and taken away its claws. This is particularly true if Forte, as reports indicate, will miss between two and four weeks.
"I feel bad for Matt, especially with everything he's going through,'' wideout/returner Devin Hester said. "This is like a big slap in the face.''
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Hester, by the way, also said signing Donovan McNabb would be "a waste of time." Multiple reports out of Chicago indicate that Forte's injury is a Grade 2 MCL sprain and that it will require him to miss up to four weeks of playing time.
Interestingly, as Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune notes, Forte's played through a serious knee injury once already in his career. In 2009, Forte sprained his MCL in Week 3 of the season but never missed a game, eventually getting surgery in the following offseason.
There's one huge difference between 2009 and right now, though: Forte's contract.
The running back has wanted a new deal for several months now, and the Bears have simply refused to "pay the man." Whether or not Forte's willing to play through the injury this time around will be interesting; at least one of his teammates believes if he can, he will.
"He's a competitor," wideout Roy Williams said Sunday after the game, per The Trib. "That's what we are: We're competitors. A lot of people don't play this game for money. I don't. I could quit right now and be fine [financially]. I play because I love the game and I want to compete. That's the same with Forte. If he can play, he's going to play, no matter the money situation."
No one doubts that Forte wants to play. And even if Forte misses four weeks, it doesn't mean he's purposely laying low to guarantee himself a payday. In fact, far from it.
But it'd be hard to blame Forte if he was cautious with his returning timeline, given the way the Bears have handled his contract situation. Of course, Sunday was a perfect example of not only why Forte wants to get paid, but why the Bears haven't paid him.
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