When it was announced by the Chicago Bears that star quarterback Jay Cutler had injured his thumb and the issue would require surgery, the team added that it was optimistic that Cutler would return by the end of the season. The feelings around the situation were especially positive regarding the quarterback's chances of returning for the playoffs.
Not so fast, though, according to Cutler himself, who told reporters today that he's uncertain about the timetable for his recovery and it's possible that he could miss the remainder of the 2011 season. Cutler said that he didn't want fans to get too excited, because the odds that he returns for the regular season are near zero, although the chances that he returns for the playoffs are slightly higher. The National Football Post gathered some of Cutler's quotes from Wednesday.
Obviously, I’d want to play next week if they’d let me but I don’t think that’s going to be in the cards,” Cutler said. “It could be I’m done for the season. I just have to be smart about it and realize that there is a long-term picture.
While the Bears certainly need Cutler's services this season, the quarterback recognizes that pushing things wouldn't be prudent given the potential that both he and the team have going forward.
I want to play in Denver, I want to play this week, I want to play in the Seattle game. But at the same time, this is only my sixth year, hopefully I'll have a lot of football left in Chicago. So I want to be smart about this.
For now, it appears that Chicago will continue with Caleb Hanie as the team's starter and Josh McCown as his back-up. Hanie struggled in the first half of last week's game against the Oakland Raiders, but did show some signs of improvement as the game progressed.