Injury bug

The Bears suffered more than bumps and bruises in their preseason opener. Several players came out of the game with injuries that will force them to miss practice and maybe game time.

Todd Johnson could miss the rest of the preseason because of a broken jaw. Terrence Metcalf broke his middle right finder.

However, Bryan Knight's absence was the biggest surprise. The strong-side linebacker sat out Monday because of sprained knee, which he had surgery on in the offseason.

"I was never 100 percent," Knight said of the injury. "The mini-camp kind of got to me and training camp definitely got to me because of the two-a-days."

Head coach Dick Jauron said Knight will sit out the next few days, but it's too early to tell if he will miss Saturday's game.

Mike Green returned to practice after sitting out most of last week with a groin injury.

In Green's place Bobby Gray filled in nicely with the first team defense. Green rushed back too soon last week and aggravated the injury.

Whether or not Gray's play had something to do with Green tried to get back on the field before he was healthy is up for debate.

"I know what he's capable of doing, he's a really good football player," Green said of Gray. "I can't worry about him, I just got to go out there and play my game."

Veteran receiver Ahmad Merritt is in a difficult position this year.

The third-year wideout is behind Marty Booker, Dez White and David Terrell on the Bears' depth chart. He also has to contend with the challenge posed by promising draft choices Bobby Wade and Justin Gage.

Merritt's 22-yard touchdown catch Saturday night furthers his cause, but he says he can't fixate on his status.

"I think it helped a lot, but I'm not out there thinking about it like that," he said. "I'm just out there playing ball and doing what I'm capable of doing and trying to get better every game. Every game is a learning experience for me and I just want to make more plays like that, as many as I can and get the ball in the end zone and help contribute to this team."

Merritt, who led the Bears in kickoff returns last season with 45 for 1,029 yards and a 22.9-yard average, also returned 3 punts for 17 yards Saturday night. Merritt was charged with a lost fumble on a questionable officiating call when teammate Todd McMillon and the Colts' Joseph Jefferson crashed into him while he was attempting a fair catch.

"All I know is somebody hit me in the face," Merritt said. "I didn't even touch the ball. They don't always make the (right) calls, and we don't always get the calls going our way, so we just have to recover from those things."

Merritt continued a stellar camp with a leaping touchdown grab over Roosevelt Williams. The Chris Chandler pass went toward the goal-line pylon and Merritt caught the ball as he fell backwards, but as able to retain possession.

Kordell Stewart struggled in passing drills Monday. The quarterback was picked off three times. Jerry Azumah, Lance Briggs and R.W. McQuarters each picked him off once.

"We certainly don't like to see the ball intercepted at any time," Jauron said. "Interceptions will happen and we want to minimize them as much as we can. He's been very efficient and very careful of the ball. We want to make sure our team is that way. We don't want to turn the ball over, but it does occur."

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