Jay Cutler will have surgery for a fractured thumb sustained in Sunday's win over the San Diego Chargers and will be "out for an extended period of time," Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith told reporters Monday.
The team has not announced a date for Cutler's surgery. Smith said the plan is for Cutler to have surgery "as soon as possible" with the expectation the quarterback will return before their season finale Jan. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings.
"Is it a season-ending injury? No," Smith said. "From what I’ve been told is we can expect him back before the end of the regular season."
Cutler suffered the injury during the fourth quarter when he was taken down by Chargers linebacker Donald Butler following an interception. Cutler remained in the game, however, and the team did not announce an injury.
Caleb Hanie will be asked to steer the Bears ship until Cutler can return. Hopefully the Bears will still be in the playoff hunt at that time. Hanie is a 3rd year player, undrafted out of Colorado State. He is said to posses "escapability." We'll get our first look at him this weekend in Oakland.