It's hard for any football fan to say this with a straight face. But it looks like cocky Jay Cutler may deserve a little sympathy. First the Chicago Bears quarterback suffered a knee injury in the middle of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers. Then his team lost. Now fans are burning his jersey. But would a win for the Bears have made a difference for Cutler?
Probably not. Reports that Cutler tore his MCL, the medial collateral ligament of the knee, mean all the fans calling him a baby for coming out of the game on Sunday night would have screwed themselves out of a Super Bowl quarterback should the Bears have pulled it off. If he'd stayed, they wouldn't have a quarterback for the big game anyway.
The ligament is one that stabilizes the knee and helps with rotation. It's typically a problem for football players when they're "clipped" by an opponent who comes at the outside of the knee. When it's torn, doctors recommend it be immediately immobilized and remain so for at least 72 hours to help restrict side-to-side movement and prevent worsening the injury. In other words: no matter how severe, getting Cutler out of the game was the only option.
With a minor tear, one not exacerbated by continuing to play, a player can be back on the field within a few days to a week and a half. With anything more serious, you're talking anywhere from two to six weeks to heal.
So let's do the math, Bears fans. The Super Bowl is February 6 this year. Even with a minimum recovery time of two weeks, it's likely that anything other than a minor tear would have kept Cutler out of the big game. So to try to save their key player from an injury so severe they would have been down a QB in February, Bears coaches took him out. (Cutler claims he would have liked to stay in.) They did the best they could with a bad situation.
And yet, the fans would have liked to see him play hurt to win the conference championship and ensure their placement in Dallas. Where they would have had no Cutler anyway. Hey fans, if it was the loss of Cutler here that lost you the game, that means you would have lost the Super Bowl anyway.
With injuries, you always have to think long term, especially in the sports world, where the limbs are everything. Now Da Bears have all the time in the world left to think about it. But at least they'll have a healthy QB next season.
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