Injury Report Analysis: Week 12

Like it or not, the Chicago Bears are participating in a playoff game Sunday in St. Louis. If Lovie Smith and Co. can't comfortably handle an awful Rams team, their season is essentially over. 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
WR Marty Booker Knee OUT
LB Darrell McClover Hamstring OUT
OT Fred Miller Shoulder OUT
DT Marcus Harrison Ankle Probable
WR Brandon Lloyd Knee Probable
LB Nick Roach Ankle Probable

St. Louis Rams

Player Injury Status
LB Chris Draft Foot OUT
CB Tye Hill Knee OUT
RB Steven Jackson Thigh OUT
DE Eric Moore Spine OUT
OT Orlando Pace Knee OUT
G Richie Incognito Shoulder Probable
DE Leonard Little Hamstring Probable
LB Will Witherspoon Thigh Probable

Bears Offense vs. Rams Defense
Quarterback Kyle Orton (ankle) should be a little closer to full strength. He was very limited in last week's game in Green Bay. Wide receiver Marty Booker's knee has kept him out of practices this week. Brandon Lloyd returned to action after a knee injury for last week's contest and should be more in synch with Orton for the Rams. Wide receiver Brandon Rideau is expected to be signed from the practice squad to add depth. Guard Terrence Metcalf will be eligible to return from a four-game suspension shortly, which is likely to signal a roster move.

WR Brandon Rideau
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Former Bear Ricky Manning Jr. is one of many Rams on injured reserve (broken ankle). Cornerback Tye Hill (knee) hasn't played in over a month and is unlikely to play this week, as well. Ronald Bartell has been starting for Hill. The Rams have invested heavily in the defensive line through the last two drafts. Top picks Adam Carriker and Chris Long represent first-round picks that have yet to have made a significant impact as starters. Long-forgotten Bears linebacker Chris Draft missed last week's game with a foot injury. Quinton Culberson started at outside linebacker for him.

If there was ever a time for the Bears offense to get back on track, this would be that time. The Rams are near or at the bottom of the league in allowing points, rushing yards and passing yards. Look for the Bears to remember their running attack this week to give Orton more time to recover. The worst thing they could do is give pass rushers like Leonard Little and James Hall an opportunity to tee off.

Rams Offense vs. Bears Defense
The once-vaunted Rams offense is languishing at 14.4 points per game. They're a team lacking continuity. Some of their key players have moved on, while those who've remained have had a difficult time staying healthy. Wide receivers Drew Bennett (foot) and Dante Hall (ankle) were recently placed on injured reserve. Tight end Randy McMichael (broken tibia) and running back Brian Leonard (shoulder) are there, as well. Guard Mark Setterstrom (knee) has had another season shortened by injury. Richie Incognito has started for him. Incognito left last week's game with a shoulder injury but is expected to play against the Bears. Left tackle Orlando Pace suffered a knee injury last week and is expected to miss a few games. Adam Goldberg is expected to hold the position until Pace returns. The Rams added depth this week by signing the versatile Anthony Davis, who can play both guard and tackle. Antonio Pittman (57 carries, 224 yards, 3.9 yards per carry) has been starting at running back for Steven Jackson (quadriceps). The Rams' lone bright spot on offense has been rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery (34 catches, 485 yards, 2 touchdowns).

LB Darrell McClover
Warren Wimmer Photography

Reserve linebacker Darrell McClover injured his hamstring against the Packers and is likely to miss a significant amount of time. He could be placed on injured reserve to make room for other roster moves. The bumps and bruises in the Bears' secondary should be behind them. Injuries to Mike Brown (calf), Charles Tillman (shoulder), Nathan Vasher (wrist) and Danieal Manning (hamstring) should all be at points in recovery where they are no longer factors that significantly hinder their play. The unit currently facing a little bit of attrition is linebacker. Hunter Hillenmeyer should be getting close to full recovery after a thumb injury several weeks ago. Nick Roach took over his spot but is now recovering from an ankle injury of his own. Next up would be Jamar Williams. Williams is recovering from a neck injury but is making good progress. Rookie defensive tackle Marcus Harrison (ankle) hasn't impressed since early in the season. His injury might provide an opportunity for Anthony Adams or Matt Toeaina to be taken out of the mothballs to provide a stout plug in the middle of the defense.

Marc Bulger has had scant opportunities to display the talent that had many project him as a top-five quarterback after the 2006 season. The offensive line has allowed 31 sacks thus far. The Bears defensive line has been causing problems for local laundering economies. Recent opposing quarterbacks have not had to send out for their jerseys to be cleaned. Something's gotta give. With Pace out, this would be a great time for Alex Brown to win his match with Goldberg. If the Rams are without Jackson, the Bears should be able to resurrect a pass rush and pass defense that has been nothing short of a welcome mat. All that said, the Bears defense over the last month has shown no indication that they'll be able to prevent Bulger from connecting with Avery and Torry Holt up and down the field.

Michael Nudo writes his Injury Report Analysis feature every Friday exclusively for E-mail him at

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