Johnny Knox underwent back surgery Monday, and has been ruled out for the season by Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Knox absorbed a punishing hit against the Seattle Seahawks while diving for a fumble that bent him backwards and sent him off the field in the stretcher. Despite the scary scene and the wideout's prognosis for the season, Smith was optimistic that Knox would recover.
"He has been in surgery to stabilize his vertebrae," Smith said. "He's out, of course, this year. But just looking to the future, it looks bright for him, of course, to play and to get back out there. So we're encouraged by that."
If all goes well in surgery, Knox could make a recovery in three to four months. Doctors will be looking to repair a cracked facet joint caused by the hit from defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove. Smith refused to call the hit dirty when pressed.
"No, I can't say that. The guy was playing hard. An unfortunate play. It's a violent sport. ... You don't see hits like that very often. I can't say that it was dirty or anything like that."
Knox had 37 catches for 727 yards and two touchdowns on the season. With Sam Hurd off the team due to drug trafficking charges and Devin Hester nicked up, the Bears suddenly find themselves woefully thin at receiver.
For more on Knox and the Bears, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Windy City Gridiron.