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Orton optimistic for Sunday, despite ankle injury

by Matt Doyle
Nov 04, 2008

Kyle Orton

Photo courtesy of AP

Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton is carted off the field on Sunday, November 2, 2008. Orton suffered what appears to be a high ankle sprain in the Bears 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions.

What a difference an ankle makes. Chicago Bears starting quarterback Kyle Orton went down during Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions with an ankle injury.

Orton, who did not practice and  was wearing a black brace on his right ankle, told reporters Wednesday: "I'm certainly not ruling out anything, I don't know exactly what the timetable's going to be, but I just feel if I keep on making improvement, I certainly can't rule out this week."

Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith said: "I'm not playing doctor; you shouldn't either. We're hopeful, I'll just say that."

Orton was injured on a scramble late in the first half. He was dragged down by Lions defensive tackle Cory Redding as Lions defensive end Dewayne White fell on him simultaneously. Orton’s ankle appeared to bend awkwardly when White fell on him.

Dr. Terry Nicola, director of sports medicine rehabilitation at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, said recovery from ankle sprains can take from three weeks to three months.

“It is almost like a shock to the ankle believe it or not.” Nicola said. “Ankles hurt an awful lot when they are first injured. Ultimately, you want to get to the point where they get their balance back. Standing on one leg, where they can balance on one leg because you lose your balance with all these different sprains. It is not so much because of the nerve but the act of balancing is so tough on the ankle.”

The right ankle is Orton’s plant foot when he drops back to pass, which will put more pressure on the injury upon return.

“They’ll tape and then put the brace over it,” Nicola said. “That will make it stable even if his balance isn’t good so that he simply cannot re-twist it.”

If Orton is unable to play, backup quarterback Rex Grossman, who led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI just two seasons ago before he fell out of favor with coaches and fans, will have a chance to help keep the Bears in contention again.

The Bears are 5-3 and in first place in the NFC North division. The Bears host the undefeated Tennessee Titans this weekend at Soldier Field. Orton could also miss two important division games when the Bears travel to Green Bay to play the Packers on Nov. 16 and when the Bears travel to Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Vikings Nov. 30.