Somewhere, former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has realized he had a valid argument for not giving running back Matt Forte a contract extension. It wasn’t because Forte isn’t good enough, or even deserving enough, but the physical play required at the running back position is something that has historically proven to cause a short window of production.
On Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers, Forte suffered what is being reported as a high ankle sprain. Early indications are that Forte will miss four to six weeks. The injury came on a passing play, after Forte had gained 14 yards. Forte had 80 all-purpose yards at the time of his injury, including 31 on the ground and 49 through the air.
If Forte misses the minimum four games, it would mean that he will have missed eight of the last ten games the Bears have played in, and that number would rise if he misses any more time. He missed the final four games of the season last year with a knee injury, and after a holdout this offseason, there were concerns of how ready Forte was. Those concerns were put aside after a productive week one showing against the Colts.
The Bears are still in good shape, as they signed what now looks like a great insurance policy in Michael Bush. Bush has been productive for the Bears through two weeks, and he will now have to shoulder the workload in the absence of Forte.
Bush is certainly capable of doing so, as he has done it in Oakland with the oft-injured Darren McFadden going down a couple times. But there is one thing that is certain, this Bears team will be best when Forte and Bush can complement each other on offense. The Bears will likely have to seek out a running back option to back up Bush for the time being, unless they are high enough on Armando Allen. For now, the new contract of Forte hasn’t gotten off to the greatest of starts.
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