Of all the nonstories to come out of Halas Hall in the past dozen plus seasons, none has been built more on hot air and innuendo or as completely lacking in evidence or facts than reports that flew Tuesday that Jay Cutler might be on pace to return from his groin injury sooner than the initial prognosis, which was a bare minimum of four weeks.
Cutler never said it, Bears coach Marc Trestman never said it and no doctors have commented on Cutler’s injury at all. The whole thing is a figment of the imagination of receiver Brandon Marshall.
Filling in for Cutler on his weekly radio show Monday night, Marshall announced that he, Dr. Brandon Marshall, is convinced Cutler will return for the Lions game Nov. 10. OK, maybe I’m giving Marshall a degree there he hasn’t exactly earned.
I’m sure Cutler was thrilled, particularly knowing he’d be meeting the media Tuesday for the first time since his injury. During the Tuesday interview, he repeatedly refused to respond in any way to questions about what he’s doing to rehab the injury, where he’s at, how it’s going or anything doctors or trainers might be telling him.
Of course, it only took about 20 seconds for the question to come. “Jay, what do you think about Dr. Marshall’s proclamation?”
Cutler laughed. Please hear that again, he laughed and said “He’s optimistic,” another quick smile, “and so am I. So we’ll see how it goes.”
“You know, when I had my thumb I didn’t feel that, I mean this has been the most significant painwise that I’ve had,” Cutler said.
Hmm, that can’t be good, can it?
“Brandon is a teammate and he’s optimistic that his teammate will be back,” Trestman said. “He’s not the doctor, and when I talk about a player’s prognosis to play, it’s not mine. It’s what the doctors have said is the normal. That doesn’t mean that Jay can’t beat the odds and come back quicker. He’s optimistic, and we all are. But I don’t make that determination, the doctors do.”
So one more time now guys, what the doctors have said is the groin injury Cutler suffered will keep him out a minimum of four weeks and he’ll then be evaluated week to week after that.
I believe we all know what the word minimum means.
For all of you out there screaming about Adrian Peterson, he didn’t beat the minimum, he obliterated the norm. Translating that to Cutler’s injury would equate to him being 100 percent in four weeks.
And here’s the real problem with all of this. What kind of message are Marshall and everyone else who seem to think Cutler getting back early is the most important thing that can happen for the Bears sending to Josh McCown and the rest of his teammates about their faith in them to get the job done without their starting quarterback?
Maybe to McCown it’s like water off a duck’s back. Or maybe, even if it’s subconsciously, it’s one more weight he doesn’t need right now.
Clearly Cutler is a better quarterback than McCown, and clearly the Bears are best off getting him back as quickly as possible. Based on everything we know and even everything we think we actually know, that will be Nov. 17 – four weeks from the date of the injury – at the absolute earliest. Most likely, it will be a week or more after that.
In the meantime, wouldn’t everyone be best off focusing all their efforts on instilling their faith in McCown rather than letting him know how little they value him?
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him a firstname.lastname@example.org.