Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith spoke with the Chicago media on Monday after news had surfaced that Jay Cutler fractured his right thumb and will be lost for at least several weeks. Smith didn't delve into specifics regarding the injury but did confirm it was a fractured thumb. When asked if it was a season-ending injury, he said it's not.
"What I've been told right now is that we can expect him back at the end of the regular season. For me, that was enough to go on. He'll be out for a period of time right now."
Smith said he's not going into detail on Cutler's surgery but did confirm he's expected to undergo a procedure on the thumb "soon."
The Bears currently have Caleb Hanie, the primary backup, slated as the starting quarterback in Cutler's absence. Nathan Enderle is also on the roster but Smith said the Bears will look to the free agent market to pick up a veteran quarterback. He acknowledged that there aren't many quarterbacks available but "there are a few." He didn't name names but among the top of the current free agent quarterbacks are David Garrard, Trent Edwards and Josh McCown.
It's never a good time to see your starting quarterback go down but the Bears have a relatively easy stretch of games coming up where they'll play all four AFC West teams (arguably the worst division in football) as well as the 4-6 Seahawks.