Noots' Notes: Week 17 Injury Analysis

Michael Nudo breaks down the bumps and bruises by taking a close look at Friday's final injury report, as the Chicago Bears face the rival Detroit Lions in Week 17 at Ford Field.

Chicago Bears

Player Injury Status
DT Israel Idonije Foot OUT
CB Charles Tillman Ribs OUT
S Al Afalava Knee Questionable
WR Johnny Knox Ankle Questionable
S Danieal Manning Calf Questionable
LB Lance Briggs Back Probable
DT Tommie Harris Knee Probable
S Craig Steltz Foot Probable

Detroit Lions

Player Injury Status
LB Larry Foote Foot OUT
CB Phillip Buchanon Shoulder Questionable
S Louis Delmas Knee Questionable
DT Joe Cohen Knee Probable
LB Jordon Dizon Neck Probable
DT Grady Jackson Knee Probable
QB Drew Stanton Ankle Probable
DE Dewayne White Toe Probable
WR Brian Witherspoon Ankle Probable

Bears Offense vs. Lions Defense
It was surprising that Devin Hester (calf) wasn't able to go on Monday night. They'll need him against the Lions and quite possibly to return kickoffs. Johnny Knox suffered a badly sprained ankle that will keep him out. The injury looked a lot worse than it actually was. He should be fine in time. Devin Aromashodu has stepped up while Hester has been down and really looks like a keeper. He has 17 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the last three games.

The Lions defense is littered with injuries. The two most severe are to two of their best players. Safety Louis Delmas has a knee injury, and linebacker Larry Foote has a foot injury (no puns, please). Delmas and Foote lead the Lions in tackles. Cornerback Phillip Buchanon (shoulder) has been limited in practice this week.

DE Mark Anderson
Getty Images: Jonathan Daniel

The Lions are in last place in just about every defensive category. They'll face a Bears offense that finally flexed its muscles last week against Minnesota. Which Chicago offense will show up? The Bears have had their struggles on the road this year, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep their positive momentum going at Ford Field against a division rival.

Lions Offense vs. Bears Defense
Drew Stanton (knee) stepped in at quarterback after rookie Matthew Stafford suffered a knee injury. Stanton threw six interceptions without a touchdown. Daunte Culpepper is expected to get the snaps this week. He has only been a little better with one touchdown and five interceptions. The Lions have been relatively healthy on offense, apart from quarterback. However, that's the one position most teams cannot afford to lose.

Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije made impact plays last week in Adewale Ogunleye's absence. Ogunleye is done for the year. Idonije got dinged up (foot), and he'll miss the final game as well. Gaines Adams and Jarron Gilbert have yet to take advantage of increased playing time. At cornerback, Corey Graham is expected to start for Charles Tillman, who suffered a rib injury when safety Craig Steltz's helmet smashed into him on a tackle. Tillman and Idonije were put on injured reserve this week. Safety and kickoff-return specialist Danieal Manning left Sunday's game with a calf injury. Safeties Steltz and Josh Bullocks started last week for Al Afalava (knee) and Kevin Payne (ankle). Payne is showing improvement, but Steltz (foot) is a concern. Hopefully Payne is ready if Steltz cannot go.

It doesn't seem likely that the Lions will be able to present many problems for the Bears defense. However, there hasn't been any level of consistent play from any unit on the squad. Detroit should be able to look at what worked for the Packers, Bengals and Cardinals and see how well they can emulate their attacks. The Bears will need to get big step up games from their substitutes in the secondary and at defensive end.

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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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