Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler wants to get back to work quickly. Despite medical staff opinion, Cutler wants to be back on the field at the helm of his team before the four weeks anticipated for his torn groin muscle to mend properly. Cutler sustained the injury during a sack in the Oct. 20 game against the Washington Redskins (45-41, ‘Skins).
Teammate Brandon Marshall believes Cutler will be back in time for the Bears’ Nov. 10 game against the Detroit Lions. Supporting Marshall’s vote of confidence, Cutler was at practice on Monday and even exchanged passes with backup Josh McCown and third string quarterback Jordan Palmer.
Marshall further stated that a torn muscle is “really a 4-6 week injury” but adds that when he suffered a similar injury he came back to active play within 10 days. He admits to some pain and discomfort and expects Cutler may feel the same if he comes back ahead of schedule. “Once… I caught a pass, “ he explained, “I was able to be effective.” Marshall seems to have no doubt Cutler has the same strength of will that brought him through his injury.
While Cutler and his teammates are eager for him return, and support the idea of a swift recovery, Coach Marc Trestman says he will not be rushed, “I think we’ve got to stay in line with what the doctors have said.”
At least that’s what he said on Monday. By Tuesday, Trestman seemed more open to Cutler ”beating the odds” and getting back on the field ahead of the team doctors’ projected schedule. “I don’t decide when he comes back,” Trestman stated, but he also added that doctors are “not always right.”
This desire for Cutler to be back in the saddle is not due to a poor performance by Josh McCown. He looked good in practice and has been working with the first-team over the Week 8 bye. When he stepped into the Redskins game, he completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown, finishing up with a QBR of 119.6. Considering McCown’s last action was the 2011 season ender against the Vikings when he threw for 160 yards and a touchdown, he carried himself and the team rather well.
With Cutler sidelined, the Bears signed quarterback Jordan Palmer to back up McCown. He was cut on Aug. 30 to whittle the team down to the required 53 roster spots.
“Without practice I think (Palmer) is in a very good spot right now,” Trestman said.
Added into the mix, Cutler’s contract with the Bears is set to expire this season. When asked if he would be more cautious because of the pending deal, Cutler quickly answered in the negative. “Every game is valuable, especially (during the) second half of the season.”
He confessed to feeling helpless as he watched his teammates in practice but was doing what he could to help McCown get more comfortable with running the offense while he recuperates. He also acknowledged that the torn groin muscle is the most substantial injury he has worked through since signing with the Bears in 2009.
Cutler would give no details about his rehab regimen but said he is following doctor’s orders and trainer’s directives. As to just when he will be back, Cutler demurs, ”Whenever they give me the green light…you’ll see me out there.”
Whenever Cutler gets back on the field, he will be welcomed with delight. His enthusiasm for the game notwithstanding, fans will have to be satisfied with McCown for the time being. Rushing back to action from any injury can have lasting negative effects. No one, least of all Cutler and Trestman, wants to delay his recovery any longer than necessary, but it is hoped that the Bears will take a page from the Patriots’ book and not allow Cutler to push himself any faster than nature allows.
By Brandi Tasby