Bears prep for game; frozen field raises concerns

December 20, 2010 5:26:04 AM PST
The collapse of the Metrodome in Minneapolis means the Vikings will host the Chicago Bears outdoors on Monday.Monday night's game will be the first outdoor Vikings home game in 28 years and some Bears players are concerned about injury.

"We really don't care where we play, but that field isn't heated and they can heat it up all they want, but we're going to be out there for three hours and it's definitely going to be a hard surface," said Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler.

Hundreds have been busy prepping TCF Stadium, which, unlike Soldier Field and most outdoor venues, does not have heating coils under the playing surface to keep it from freezing.

"I don't think it's very safe to play on a frozen field, and that is like me trying to run in cleats out on the parking lot. And the field will be as hard as asphalt," said Bears safety Chris Harris.

The Bears hope to avoid injuries like the concussion Cutler sustained during this play on a non-frozen surface, and head trainer for Northwestern University's Athletic Program Tory Lindley says those concerns aren't unfounded.

"The resiliency of the surface and how hard the surface is certainly going to be an issue," he said.

Some NFL teams have been known to trade cleats for sneakers in super icy conditions.

"It is about creating friction and the shoe to the surface, and the cleats necessarily won't stick as much as they want," Lindley said.

To get ready for the game, the Bears will practice at Northwestern University this weekend. The practice will be closed to the public.

The artificial turf at Northwestern is similar to what the Bears will see at University of Minneapolis' TCF Stadium, where they will play the Vikings since the Metrodome is unavailable. TCF was covered in snow earlier this week and the ground is very, very cold.

Not everyone has sympathy for the Bears and Vikings. Former NFL Player and radio personality for ESPN 1000 John Jurkovic said he's played on dozens of frozen surfaces during his career.

"And you have seen the footage and it's miserable out there. And at least you guys have heaters on the sidelines," Jurkovic said.

And it's not just concussions Bears are worried about, but when footing deteriorates, you see more muscle strains and muscle pulls and ligament injuries. The key is to find the right shoe for your position.

Kickoff for the Bears-Vikings is 7:30 p.m. Monday.


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