Noots' Notes: Week 4 Injury Analysis

The Chicago Bears had a very tough time stringing together wins in 2008, which is why it's important to take their third straight Sunday against Detroit and get to the bye with a 3-1 mark. 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
LB Hunter Hillenmeyer Rib Doubtful
LB Pisa Tinoisamoa Knee Doubtful
LB Lance Briggs Foot Questionable
DE Alex Brown Ankle Questionable
DT Israel Idonije Knee Questionable
DT Anthony Adams Knee Probable
TE Desmond Clark Rib Probable
RB Matt Forte Knee Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
LS Patrick Mannelly Forearm Probable

Detroit Lions

Player Injury Status
DT Sammie Hill Ankle Doubtful
S Kalvin Pearson Quadriceps Doubtful
DE Dewayne White Hamstring Doubtful
DE Cliff Avril Hamstring Questionable
DT Grady Jackson Knee Questionable
CB Eric King Shoulder Questionable
LB Ernie Sims Shoulder Questionable
RB Kevin Smith Shoulder Questionable
QB Drew Stanton Knee Probable

Bears Offense vs. Lions Defense
Tight end Desmond Clark is making improvement from a rib injury suffered in the first game of the season. He's eager to get back on the field. Even with the bye week coming, he seems likely to return. Running back Matt Forte (knee) was limited in practice and briefly left last week's game. The loss of backup Kevin Jones in the preseason means Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe will need to spell Forte at a higher rate than a season ago.

DE Cliff Avril
Getty Images: Andy Lyons

The Lions managed to beat the Redskins last week despite having Ernie Sims on the sideline with a shoulder injury and an assortment of bumps and bruises. DeAndre Levy played well for Sims, who might still need more time to recover. Their defensive line is where they're really hurting. Defensive tackle Sammie Hill left last week's game with an ankle injury. His availability is clearly in question. The same goes for veteran Grady Jackson (knee). These two are their wide-load run stuffers. At right defensive end, Cliff Avril (hamstring) missed last week's game but is making progress. Dewayne White also has a hamstring injury and missed practice time this week. Cornerback Eric King is recovering from a shoulder injury. Phillip Buchanon will get the start if King cannot play.

If Hill and Jackson are out, the Bears should be able to finally flex their muscles and win the physical battle in the middle. The Bears' offensive line has struggled getting any movement on opposing defensive linemen, as evidenced by their 28th-ranked rushing offense. Look for the Bears to continue doing what works. They'll try the run, but in no way are they married to it.

Lions Offense vs. Bears Defense
Running back Kevin Smith injured his shoulder in last week's contest with Washington. The injury is not believed to be serious. If he suits up, it bears watching to see how it responds to contact and if it limits his ability to raise the arm to catch a pass. In either event, it seems like Maurice Morris will see plenty of action.

LB Hunter Hillenmeyer
Getty Images: Doug Pensinger

Alex Brown was largely ineffective last week while playing on a sprained ankle. He's hoping to be closer to form for Sunday. At middle linebacker, Hunter Hillenmeyer, who was playing for the already injured Brian Urlacher, left last week's game with a rib injury. It's not believed to be serious. However, when Nick Roach slid over from the strong side to take his place in the middle, it was something of a revelation. Roach had been manning the strong side for Pisa Tinoisamoa, who hurt his knee on the first defensive series of the season. Although Tinoisamoa is believed to be close to making his return, it seems more than likely that he'll get this week off and the bye week to get ready for the fifth game. It will be interesting to see if Roach gets a longer look in the middle upon Tinoisamoa's return to the strong side. Jamar Williams took over the strong side when Roach moved to the middle. The Bears again signed linebacker and special-teams ace Darrell McClover. His signing comes at the expense of cornerback DeAngelo Smith. NFC Defensive Player of the Week Lance Briggs was limited in practice this week because of a foot injury but is expected to be ready for Sunday.

The Lions turned over more than half of their roster (31 players) since last year's 0-16 debacle. Top draft pick Matthew Stafford has all the tools and is being given the opportunity to learn on the job under center. Look for the Bears to challenge him in many ways, from bringing different blitz packages to disguising coverage that seeks to neutralize wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

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Michael Nudo writes his Injury Analysis feature during the season every week for E-mail him at

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