Jay Cutler spoke for the first time since surgery Nov. 23 to repair his fractured and dislocated right thumb and acknowledged there is a chance he will not play again this season.
It was a grim dose of reality for the Chicago Bears, who announced last week that Cutler was expected back before the end of the regular season. Now, it’s possible Caleb Hanie will have to quarterback the offense through the end of the season and potentially into the playoffs.
“Obviously, I’d want to play next week if they’d let me but I don’t think that’s going to be in the cards,” Cutler said. “It could be I’m done for the season. I just have to be smart about it and realize that there is a long-term picture.”
Originally, the prognosis for Cutler’s return was 6 to 8 weeks but the belief was surgery performed by Dr. Randy Viola in Vail, Colo., could potentially speed up the process. That’s no guarantee, though, and Bears coach Lovie Smith admitted he could be without his quarterback for the remainder of the year.
“A possibility?” Smith said. “Yeah. It's a possibility. I mean, there are a lot of possibilities on a lot of things, you know. But you can't go that far. It's good to see back him here.
“You talked to Jay today and I'm going to stand by my comments that I made. Until someone tells me that he's not, we're going along like he will be able to come back. And nothing was said otherwise. Surgery went well. I still expect and am hopeful that Jay will be able to come back at the end of the year like I said the first day.”
Until then, Cutler will serve as an assistant quarterbacks coach.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune