Chicago Bears guard Lance Louis is helped off the field by trainers during the second half of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings in Chicago.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears will be without starting right guard Lance Louis for the rest of the season because of a left knee injury. And for that, they are not happy with Minnesota’s Jared Allen.
Coach Lovie Smith took issue with the hit that knocked Louis out of Sunday’s win over the Vikings, calling it unnecessary.
“Yes. I did,” Smith said when asked if he thought the hit was unnecessary. “Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league. I think there are some plays when you look at them again, you say, `Hey, we could have done without that.’ I think our game could do without that play. We have an injured player right now based on it. I think he could have gotten blocked a little bit differently, but that’s about all I can probably say about it. I’m sure the league will look at it and give another opinion about what they think.”
The play happened after Chicago’s Brandon Marshall tipped a pass from Jay Cutler. The Vikings’ Antoine Winfield picked it off, and as he returned the interception, Allen launched himself at Louis for a blindside hit to the head. As he fell, his knee buckled awkwardly beneath him. Louis was done for the game, and now for the season.
No penalty was called on the play, and Allen defended the hit afterward, saying he thought it was clean.
Like Smith, Bears defensive end Israel Idonije disagreed.
“There have been a number of rules put in the game now that you can’t hit a defenseless player,” he said. “Lance is clearly, his vision is downfield. Allen hits him on his blind side. At that point of the game, he could have easily (hit him) shoulder to shoulder, he could have laid him out with just using his hands to his chest. Lot of options. Lance is quick. He’s fast. But it’s not a situation where he was just blazing and he had to lay him out to make a saving play. He hit him that way because he chose to hit him that way. Unfortunate, because Lance has played very well for us.”
Now, the Bears will have to make do without Louis after placing him on injured reserve on Monday. The team would not comment on the extent of the injury.
The Bears also lost top running back Matt Forte and star cornerback Charles Tillman to ankle injuries along with return specialist and receiver Devin Hester to a concussion. Left guard Chris Spencer also left the game with a knee injury, leaving Chicago (8-3) without its two starting guards.
Their status for this week’s game against Seattle (6-5) remained up in the air. But this much is clear: Louis is out for the rest of the season.
A seventh-round draft pick in 2009, Louis started all 11 games at right guard this season after making two starts there and 11 at right tackle a year ago.
The injuries on the line put the Bears in a tough spot.
They have capable backups for Forte and Hester in Michael Bush and Eric Weems. Tillman had his helmet on for much of the second half and didn’t appear to be hurt too badly on Sunday.
But the offensive line is thin at the moment.
The Bears had already shuffled their rotation after a blowout loss at San Francisco, with Jonathan Scott replacing Gabe Carimi as the starting right tackle and Spencer moving into the lineup after Chilo Rachal left the team.
The Bears signed guard Chris Riley to the practice squad and promoted James Brown to the 53-man roster last week.
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