Report: Ex-Bear Johnny Knox's return to football unlikely

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com
Wide receiver Johnny Knox missed the entire 2012 season because of a severe back injury. (US Presswire)

Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox is unlikely to play again due to concerns over a back injury sustained late in the 2011 season, according to the Chicago Tribune. Knox was released by the Bears on Tuesday after missing the entire 2012 season.

"He had to work himself back up to where he could even walk," former Bears assistant coach Darryl Drake told the paper. "He had to work to get himself up out of bed. Hopefully, he'll continue to work and get himself back to where he can have the quality of life that he needs to have."

The Tribune's report cites multiple sources indicating that Knox is not likely to return to the field.

Knox's agent, however, told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday that Knox fully intended to return in 2013. The extent of his injury, however, will make that significantly difficult.

"The final diagnosis indicates a very severe fracture,'' an orthopedic spine surgeon told the Chicago Tribune, based on what is known of Knox's injury. "Surgical repair involves placements of rods and screws that restrict range of motion and place adjacent vertebrae at higher risk for injury for a patient playing in the high-velocity, high-energy NFL.

"A patient with such an injury could do a typical job. But it would be incredibly difficult to perform with the high degree of flexibility and range of motion required to play professional football.''

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