Injury Report Analysis: Week 1

Colts QB Peyton Manning didn't play at all during the preseason because of minor knee surgery, but the Chicago Bears still expect the perennial Pro Bowler to be as dangerous as ever in Week 1. Michael Nudo breaks down all the bumps and bruises by taking a closer look at Friday's final injury report.

Chicago Bears

Player Injury Status
OT Chris Williams Back OUT
DE Mark Anderson Thumb Probable
TE Desmond Clark Knee Probable
DT Dusty Dvoracek Calf Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
G Terrence Metcalf Knee Probable

Indianapolis Colts

Player Injury Status
G Mike Pollak Knee OUT
C Jeff Saturday Knee OUT
WR Pierre Garcon Shoulder Questionable
WR Roy Hall Knee Questionable
DE Curtis Jackson Shoulder Questionable
QB Peyton Manning Knee Probable

Bears Offense vs. Colts Defense
Left guard Terrence Metcalf was a question mark going into this year after a poor performance in his opportunities last season. He recently underwent knee surgery that cost him all of the preseason games. Although he returned to practice this week, Metcalf would seem like a long shot to play. Stepping up is Josh Beekman, who hardly sniffed the field last year. Beekman started all four preseason games and played as many snaps as anyone. He's come a long way and shows great promise blocking in space on runs and screens. He still has a ways to go in pass protection and will likely be tested early and often this year. The Bears acquired guard Dan Buenning from Tampa Bay for a late draft pick Tuesday. Buenning was an immediate starter for the Buccaneers after being drafted in the fourth round in 2005. He suffered a knee injury during the following season, fought his way back, but was behind some younger players who were also drafted relatively high. Buenning should figure into the mix at some point if there is an injury or poor performance.

TE Desmond Clark
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Tight end Desmond Clark suffered a knee sprain during the preseason but has returned to practice. The Bears are deep at tight end, where Greg Olsen looks to improve on a promising rookie campaign. Behind him is rookie Kellen Davis, who opened eyes everywhere during training camp with his impressive combination of size and speed. The Bears were planning to utilize the tight ends heavily in the offense, and that shouldn't change regardless of Clark's health for this game. They'll also play a role in helping new left tackle John St. Clair, who is being trusted with protecting Kyle Orton's blind side.

The Colts have a few bumps and bruises on defense. At linebacker, Tyjuan Hagler was recently placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Clint Session is expected to step in on the strong side. Rookie middle linebacker Philip Wheeler has been recovering from a knee issue. Elsewhere, defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot) and safety Bob Sanders (shoulder) have missed extensive parts of the preseason. Anything that can slow down Freeney is good news to St. Clair.

Look for the Bears to pound the Colts defense with the run and to set up play action to their tight ends. The Colts will load the box to stop the run and blitz extensively to test the Bears line, challenging Orton to find targets downfield with accuracy.

Colts Offense vs. Bears Defense
Peyton Manning is expected to be ready for this game, despite missing nearly the entire preseason after he had an infected bursa sac in his right knee removed. He has returned to practice. Complicating matters, center Jeff Saturday will miss significant time with a torn right MCL. The situation becomes more difficult given left guard Ryan Lilja is also down with a knee injury and interior lineman Mike Pollak is also banged up. The middle three of the line is expected to be Charlie Johnson, Jamey Richard and Daniel Federkeil.

LB Brian Urlacher
Warren Wimmer Photography
Richard, just a rookie, will be faced with a huge challenge. The offensive line depends on the center to make blocking adjustments prior to each play. It would seem more than likely the Colts will depend on Manning to take a greater role at the line of scrimmage to ensure there are no breakdowns with Richard over the ball.

Mike Brown is back in the starting lineup, and Brian Urlacher returns after neck surgery in the offseason. Defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who missed the last few weeks of practice to nurse a sore knee, returned to practice Wednesday. If he's ready to go, he'll be a key to attacking the inexperienced interior line of the Colts. The Bears are excited about the return of defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, who was injured in the first game last season. Pass-rushing defensive end Mark Anderson isn't expected to miss any time with a thumb injury. If it's heavily wrapped, it may have an impact on his effectiveness.

The Bears will want to test how well Manning's knee is healed, too. Regardless, expect the Bears to try to make things difficult for Richard with their rotation of fresh interior linemen and Urlacher on blitzes.

Michael Nudo writes his Injury Report Analysis feature every Friday exclusively for

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