Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning to determine the extent of a torn MCL believed to be in his left knee, according to a source close to the situation.
Neither Cutler nor coach Lovie Smith explained when the injury occurred in the second quarter, but Cutler headed to the locker room for halftime ahead of his teammates, and he tested the stability of his knee in the opening series ot the third quarter. At that point, Smith said the team made the decision to remove him from the game.
"For us, Jay hurt his knee," Smith said. "He just couldn't go; team, doctors and all, there was no decision, really. He was injured."
An MCL tear is consistent with what Cutler noted after the game, that he was hit on the outside of his knee.
The medial collateral ligament is one of the four ligaments that stabilizes the knee joint. Depending on the severity, an athlete could miss anywhere from one to six weeks, or longer.
A Grade 1 tear, which is incomplete, usually just involves pain and one to two weeks of recovery.
In a Grade 3 tear, which is complete, an athlete could have significant pain and swelling and endure instability in that knee. Surgery is not necessarily required, but the knee needs to be immobilized with a brace and crutches might be needed. It could take six weeks to heal.