5:46 p.m. CST, December 18, 2011
Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox will undergo back surgery Monday to stabilize vertebrae in his back, the team announced.
Knox was injured in the first quarter of the team's 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Soldier Field. A club spokesman said the "prognosis is good" for Knox's continued career and quality of life.
Knox was injured after he fumbled and went for the ball on the ground. Seattle defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove dove and hit Knox's upper torso, violently bending back his upper body. The game was delayed for at least five minutes while medical personnel tended to Knox on the field. He was placed on a board and taken off the field on a cart to a waiting ambulance and then the hospital.
Coach Lovie Smith was upbeat about Knox's situation after the game.
"Johnny has total movement thoughhout his body," Smith said. "Has total use of all of his extremities, which is good. He is not paralyzed or anything like that."
While no announcement has been made, it's fair to assume Knox's 2011 season has ended with just two regular-season games remaining.
In the first quarter, Knox fumbled on a third-down reception after he was stripped by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. During the scramble for the ball, Seahawks defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove delivered a crushing blow to Knox on the ground that replays showed bent back his upper torso.
The game was delayed for more than five minutes while Knox was tended to on the field by medical personnel. He was strapped to a hard board and placed on a cart. Knox was moving his arms and hands and his helmet was removed.
The cart took Knox to an ambulance and he was transported to a hospital according to the WBBM-AM 780 broadcast. Sideline reporter Zach Zaidman reports Knox is moving hands and fingers.
The loss of Knox leaves the Bears with only four wide receivers for the remainder of the game as Sam Hurd was waived Friday and the Bears entered Sunday with five on the roster.