Lovie Smith confirms Jay Cutler's broken thumb

Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith confirmed this morning that Jay Cutler suffered a fractured thumb on his right throwing hand.

Cutler will see specialists this morning to determine a course of action, and Smith refused to speculate how long his quarterback will be sidelined, but it’s believed Cutler will be out 6 to 8 weeks, meaning he’ll miss at least the remainder of the regular season.

Jay does have a right thumb fracture,” Smith said during an appearance on WBBM-AM 780. “He hurt it on the tackle on the interception. Of course, we took X-rays last night and he’ll be seeing specialists this morning and we’ll be able to tell you a little more after that.”

Smith will hold a press conference at noon at Halas Hall when more details could emerge.

“I’m not going to play doctor right now,” he said. “We are going through the process. We will be able to tell you a little bit more. It’s all we know right now.”

Caleb Hanie will replace Cutler. He has not started an NFL game in his four seasons, and has thrown just 14 passes in regular-season action. What does Smith expect?

<p> “Same play from our quarterback position,” he said. “Caleb has played a lot for us around here. We feel comfortable with him being our quarterback. It’s always next guy up. We’ve had other injuries at other positions. That’s what it will be. We’re a good football team and we still plan on winning.

“Running game, play from our quarterback position, outstanding defensive play, special teams,” he said. “We’ve been in this situation before so again it’s unfortunate, we don’t know exactly how long Jay will be out but while he’s out the ship will keep moving.”

Rookie fifth-round draft pick Nathan Enderle is the Bears’ third quarterback. It remains to be seen if the team will pursue a veteran option. Right now, the Bears do not want to place Cutler on injured reserve.

The Bears are 7-3 and will probably earn a playoff spot if they can go 3-3 down the stretch.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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