Bears receiver Johnny Knox underwent surgery to stabilize the L1 vertebra in the lumbar region of his back and is projected to be ready for 2012 training camp, if not sooner, according to a league source.
The Bears wouldn't provide a timetable, but a league source said Knox could be healed in three months.
That meshes with insight from Dr. Neel Anand, a renowned spine surgeon who is the director of Orthopaedic Spine Surgery at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles.
"If it's an innocuous fracture, and all he needs is screws and rods, he could come back in three to six months," Anand said.
Some surgeries sideline an athlete for a year. But Anand said Knox having full movement is an encouraging sign.
"He should be OK by next season, even if it's a complete reconstruction," he said.
In the first quarter, as Knox was falling to recover his fumble, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove drilled him and pushed his back backward, the only direction it's not intended. He was placed on a flat board, loaded onto a motorized cart and transported, via an ambulance, to a local hospital. The team announced after the game that Knox had full movement in all his extremities and that he would have surgery Monday to stabilize a vertebra in his back.
Knox's surgery was performed by Dr. Srdjan Mirkovic, the Bears' spine consultant who works at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, among others.
The Bears announced that he was placed on injured reserve today.
Knox finishes the season as the Bears' leading receiver with 727 yards and ranked second with 37 receptions.