Considering the alternatives, the news on outside linebacker Leonard Floyd's right knee injury is positive -- for now.
The 2016 ninth overall draft pick is second on the Bears with 5 sacks and tied with Akiem Hicks for first in quarterback pressures with 12, 2 of which came in Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Lions. But he left Soldier Field on a cart early in the fourth quarter.
"He's going to miss some time," coach John Fox said. "They're still evaluating it."
Asked specifically if Floyd suffered the dreaded torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), Fox said: "It wasn't as bad, but I can't tell you all the details at this stage. I'd just be making it up. To our knowledge, at this point, right now, he did not. But that's as of right now."
Floyd will not play Sunday in Philadelphia, and a season-ending trip to injured reserve has not been ruled out.
"All of those options are available," Fox said. "We're still evaluating it. They have different opinions as far as doctors. We're not at the end of all the evolution yet."
Floyd is the Bears' best edge rusher. He tied for second on the team last year with 7 sacks, although nagging injuries caused him to miss four games entirely and parts of two others. In 2016, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Floyd had a sack-strip of the Packers' Aaron Rodgers and recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. He also sacked the San Francisco 49ers' Blaine Gabbert in the end zone for a safety.
"He's one of our top players," Fox said. "Obviously disappointing. He was having a heck of a game; he was playing extremely well. It's unfortunate, but it's reality."
Weighing the option:
With Leonard Floyd out for the foreseeable future, the Bears are short-handed at outside linebacker.
Top backup Sam Acho should get more playing time, but the other starter at outside linebacker, Pernell McPhee, is usually on a pitch count because of surgical knees.
Floyd's absence could be an opportunity for undrafted rookie Isaiah Irving, who had 3 special-teams tackles Sunday and tied with Sherrick McManis for team honors. After spending the first four weeks of the season on the practice squad, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound Irving has been active on game day every week.
"Most of his playing time has been on fourth down (special teams)," coach John Fox said. "He's had a little bit of action on defense, and that's something that he'd definitely be in line to get more reps."
Another possibility is Christian Jones, who's bounced back and forth between inside and outside linebacker in his four years with the Bears. He's started seven of the last eight games inside and leads the Bears with 63 tackles. He had a team-best 8 tackles vs. the Lions and also his first sack since his rookie season of 2014.
"I feel like I'm pretty comfortable there," Jones said. "That's where I started. But I don't know what's going to happen. So we'll see. Whatever happens, I'll be ready for it."
Keep feeding him:
Rookie running back Tarik Cohen was on the field for 30 snaps Sunday after getting just 11 a week earlier, and he picked up 44 yards on 9 carries for a 4.9-yard average.
Cohen also caught 4 passes for 15 yards and continued to draw the attention of opposing defenses.
"I've never seen coverage rolled to a running back like that, the way it does with Tarik," Bears 10-year veteran guard Josh Sitton said. "That goes to show you the talent he's got. He's a special player, and we've got to continue to get him the ball. Jordan (Howard) is our bruiser, and Tarik's a guy who we need to get the ball 10 or 15 times a game, just to get him in space and let him work."
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