Noots' Notes: Week 2 Injury Analysis

While we're only one week into the regular season, the Chicago Bears already resemble some M*A*S*H unit on both sides of the ball. Poor timing since the reigning champs are coming to town. 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
TE Desmond Clark Rib Doubtful
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa Knee Doubtful
S Al Afalava Shoulder Probable
DE Mark Anderson Toe Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
S Danieal Manning Back Probable
G Frank Omiyale Ankle Probable

Pittsburgh Steelers

Player Injury Status
S Troy Polamalu Knee OUT
WR Limas Sweed Foot OUT
CB Ike Taylor Not Injury Related Probable
LB Lawrence Timmons Ankle Probable

Bears Offense vs. Steelers Defense
Tight end Desmond Clark took a hard shot to his lower back (ribs) and is likely to miss some action or be limited at best. Clark has been a very durable player for the Bears. Backups Michael Gaines and Kellen Davis can expect to see more action opposite starter Greg Olsen in two-tight end formations. Guard Frank Omiyale sprained an ankle in last week's contest but returned to action. If he struggles, Josh Beekman will be ready to take over. The Bears are eager to get wide receiver Devin Aromashodu back on the field. He looks ready to go.


TE Kellen Davis
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

Just like the Bears, it would seem likely that the Steelers will be missing two key defenders for Sunday's contest. Strong safety Troy Polamalu injured his knee in the opener against Tennessee. Veteran Tyrone Carter is expected to assume those duties until he returns. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was making progress overcoming a sprained ankle that was bothering him in the preseason, but he suffered a setback during Wednesday's practice. Keyaron Fox received the start against the Titans and responded well. He led the Steelers with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Pittsburgh had easily the best defense in the NFL last season. Their ends are not going to be as big as the mammoths the Bears faced against the Packers. However, their ends and linebackers are more proven pass rushers. The loss of Polamalu doesn't mean they won't be a huge challenge for Chicago. Carter is only 5-9 and may see matchup problems against taller pass catchers like Olsen. Olsen was a focal point of the Packers' coverage and will be looking to make a bigger impact this week. The Bears can expect the Steelers to use some very complex blitz schemes to challenge protection and force Jay Cutler into mistakes. Expect the Bears to get their running game going to establish a more controlled tempo than they showed in Green Bay.

Steelers Offense vs. Bears Defense
The Bears' linebacking corps suffered two big hits last week in the loss to Green Bay. Brian Urlacher was lost for the season with a wrist injury, and Pisa Tinoisamoa sprained his knee. Tinoisamoa will be out up to a month. Hunter Hillenmeyer takes over the middle for Urlacher, while Nick Roach takes over the strong side. Fortunately, both players have extensive playing experience in the scheme. Jamar Williams is expected to get into the mix, as well. Cornerbacks Charles Tillman (back) and Zack Bowman (hamstring) should be more ready for significant playing time. Bowman is expected to supplant Nathan Vasher as the starter. Safety Al Afalava (shoulder) and Tommie Harris (knee) have some bumps and bruises but aren't expected to miss any time. Nickel defender Danieal Manning (back) was limited in practice this week. If Manning's injury forces him to miss action, it will mean more time for Corey Graham. Defensive end Mark Anderson (toe) missed some practice time and will need to be watched closely. On Thursday, cornerback Trumaine McBride (knee) was waived/injured. Cornerback DeAngelo Smith was claimed off waivers to take his spot on the roster. Linebacker Tim Shaw was also added during the week.


LB Nick Roach
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

Running back Willie Parker has been nursing a sore hamstring since the preseason. He and former Illini standout Rashard Mendenhall are coming back from injury-riddled seasons. Neither of them got off to a good start last week against Tennessee. Rookie Frank Summers receives starting duty at fullback since Sean McHugh was lost in the preseason. They aren't force-feeding Summers into the action. The Steelers run mostly three-wide and two-tight sets without a fullback. Wide receiver Limas Sweed sprained his foot during Wednesday's practice.

The Steelers will want to get their running game going against the Bears after managing just 36 rushing yards versus the Titans. Look for the Bears to test a suspect offensive line early and often. Chicago will continue to rotate fresh bodies into the defensive line to keep the energy level at its highest. Expect the Steelers to look for matchups in those personnel groupings that they can exploit.


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Michael Nudo writes his Injury Analysis feature during the season every week for BearReport.com. E-mail him at mr.noots@live.com.


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