Nearly two weeks until the Bears have to suit up again in Atlanta, Lovie Smith said he is counting on all of his players to be available to face the Falcons?
Realistic? Maybe not. Possible? Sure. Smith confirmed the Sun-Times report that defensive lineman Israel Idonije had arthroscopic knee surgery today. He sounded more confident that wide receivers Devin Hester and Johnny Knox and linebackers Pisa Tinoisamoa and Hunter Hillenmeyer will be back.
"Clean up, you know, a little bit in one of his knees,'' Smith said about Idonije. "Should be ready to go. Nothing major. Minor procedure that we had scheduled, so he should be all right."
Asked directly if he expects him to play without missing a game, Smith hedged a little.
"It's unknown but we feel pretty good about him coming back, quickly, soon, all of those,'' he said. "But we'll see how it goes. Pretty tough guy. He'll be back out there before long."
The Bears called Hester's injury a shoulder injury on Sunday when he left the game early in the second quarter after being hit by Lions defensive backs Louis Delmas and William James. Smith called it a "shoulder area" injury this afternoon, and Hester was spotted leaving Soldier Field on Sunday. That makes it possible Hester had a stinger. Whatever the case is, he's expected to face the Falcons. So is Knox, who Smith reiterated has a shin injury.