Johnny Knox Injury: Bears WR Down To 165 Pounds, Trying To Stay Optimistic

Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox suffered a broken vertebrae during the team's Week 15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- one of the most brutal injuries of recent memory in the NFL -- and there has been plenty of speculation he could miss the 2012 NFL season after successful surgery in December, but the young WR is trying to stay in good spirits.

He lost 30 pounds during his recovery, but Knox says he has added 10 pounds back to his frame in rehab. It still leaves the speedy wideout at just 165 pounds, and Knox told Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times that he is focused on trying to add strength right now:

''My main focus is in the weight room. I'm not in a rush. This is my spine, the core of my body I'm dealing with. It's not my knee or ankle or shoulder. I'm taking my time...I'm doing great. I'm feeling a lot better from Day One. Getting stronger. Working on some things to get stronger in my lower body and my back. Most importantly, mentally, too.''

Knox still hasn't seen a replay of the hit, and said he likely won't until he retires from the game. As for when he might be back on the field, don't expect it to happen quickly.

In February, Knox's agent, Mark Lillibridge, suggested Knox was on pace for a return in mid-July, but Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reported in March that Knox was expected to be placed on the team's Physically Unable to Preform list prior to the start of the 2012 season -- which would make him ineligible to play in first six weeks of the season. McClure noted that Knox could miss the season back in March, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune mentioned in his May 13 column that "Knox will likely miss the season."

Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Bears, be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. And drop by SB Nation's NFL news hub for more updates and commentary from around the league.

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