Docs say Cutler sprained MCL in knee

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler watches the action against the Green Bay Packers from the sideline during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

January 25, 2011 4:59:30 AM PST
It turns out Bears quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a sprained ligament in his left knee Sunday, which kept him from playing most of the second half of a disappointing NFC title game and would have left him questionable had Chicago made it to the Super Bowl.

Cutler's injury was still the talk of the town on Monday.

Cutler's teammates are backing him up, calling him a tough guy.

But, some Bears fans say it's been hard all along to rally behind Cutler, and they don't have much sympathy for him.

An injured Cutler walked off Soldier Field and right into the middle of some tough post-game analysis by Bears fans.

Even the diagnosis Monday that Cutler sprained a ligament in his left knee did not stop the debate as to whether he had "heart" and should he have toughed it out and stayed in the game.

"I had an MCL tear back -- or at the very least, a very bad sprain -- in '94, and I couldn't play on it," said Tom Waddle on ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy show. "I tried the best I could and I just couldn't plant and run on it."

Former Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle co-hosts ESPN 1000's "Waddle and Silvy" show with Marc Silverman. They fielded calls from listeners who support Cutler and those who blame him for Sunday's loss.

"We're looking for a scapegoat here," Silverman said. "And I think people are so quick in this town to make a guy a scapegoat, and that's what is happening to Jay Cutler."

Many fans say they're not inclined to empathize with Cutler because of the way he comes across in the media.

"It's not that I don't believe him, I just don't like him very much because he's not very verbal in terms of talking about what's going on ever," said Steve Wallman, Bears fan.

"When he was asked when he got hurt, he said 'I'm not sure, sometime in the first half,' " said Jane Billbe, Bears fan. "I think that he should have kept playing until he could say I was hurt at this minute, I heard a pop. He didn't seem like he was that injured."

Orthopedic surgeon Chuck Bush-Joseph says an injury like Cutler's can be deceiving because it can keep you out of the game-- but not off your feet.

Bush-Joseph says the expectation of an athlete enduring pain for the benefit of the team can do more harm in the long run.

"There are certainly times when an injured player is a hindrance to the team and his performance is so poor," the doctor said. "So you have to judge the player's ability to say how much pain I'm in and how well I can function and am I actually gonna be able to do my job well."

Bears medical staff assessed Cutler to find out how serious the injury was and made the call to keep him out of the game.