Coach: Johnny Knox future "bright" after surgery

Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox (13) is wheeled off the field after an injury in the first half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011. Knox is to have surgery to stabilize a vetebra in his lower to mid back due to the incident.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Chicago Bears receiver Johnny Knox will miss the rest of the season after undergoing back surgery Monday.

Coach Lovie Smith confirmed that Knox would not play again this year. He was taken from the field on a cart early in Sunday's blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Smith says the surgery to stabilize a vetebra in his lower to mid back started Monday morning and was not finished as of midday.

The Chicago Tribune later reported it was a cracked facet joint, which helps keep the spinal column stable. The newspaper cited a source that said Knox would be fully healed in three to four months.

"He's out, of course, this year," Smith said. "But just looking to the future, it looks bright for him to play and to get back out there. So we're encouraged by that."

After Knox caught a pass, Kam Chancellor poked the ball out of his hands, and as Knox made a diving attempt to retrieve it, he was hit by Anthony Hargrove and bent backward. Smith says it was "an unfortunate play" but not a dirty one.

Knox was eventually placed on a stretcher and taken from the field on a cart, putting his hands over his face and wiggling his fingers as he left the field.
Johnny Knox lays on the field injured
Johnny Knox (13) of the Chicago Bears lays on the field injured as Caleb Hanie (12) looks on during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on Dec. 18, 2011 in Chicago. Knox remained on the ground for several minutes while he was being attended to before he was put on a stretcher and wheeled off the field with what was announced as a mid-back injury. He put his hands to his face and moved his arms while on the stretcher and got an ovation as he was taken off the field.
Getty Images/Scott Boehm