1985 Bears Coverage: Tendinitis discovered; Bear QB’s season is in jeopardy

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Every day of the 2015 Chicago Bears season, Chicago Sun-Times Sports will revisit its coverage 30 years ago during the 1985 Bears’ run to a Super Bowl title.

Tendinitis discovered; Bear QB’s season is in jeopardy

Brian Hewitt

Originally published Nov. 16, 1985

The Bears announced yesterday that quarterback Jim McMahon has tendinitis in his right shoulder. They would not speculate on how long the condition will keep McMahon from playing.

But indications are he will miss at least tomorrow’s Bears-Cowboys contest in Dallas and the next game at home against Atlanta.

The Bears immediately downgraded his status from “questionable” to “doubtful” on the injury report for tomorrow’s game.

McMahon didn’t practice and was unavailable for comment. Team physician Clarence Fossier was unavailable. General manager Jerry Vainisi refused comment. And consulting physician Michael Schaefer referred inquiries to the Bears.

This virtual information blackout raised more questions than a brief statement by public relations director Ken Valdiserri answered.

McMahon missed last week’s 24-3 victory over the Lions with what the Bears described as a bruised acrimioclavicular joint in the shoulder. Steve Fuller replaced him in the lineup and will do the same against the Cowboys.

Valdiserri said McMahon will make the trip to Dallas, but a decision on whether he will suit up won’t be made until today. Fossier made the latest diagnosis yesterday at Lake Forest Hospital, where he received a second, concurring opinion from Schaefer.

“He McMahon will be put on medication and be advised to rest,” Valdiserri said. “His availability and status will be determined by how well he responds to the medication and rest. It’ll be just a

week-to-week thing.”

Valdiserri said doctors also X-rayed the shoulder. “And there was nothing that showed there were any tears,” he said. “It came out negative.”

The Bears’ latest version of McMahon’s injury is that it occurred in the 49ers game Oct. 13.

“Evidently, he’s not healing as well as we’d like,” coach Mike Ditka said before the Bears issued their official statement. “But Steve’s ready.”

Ditka also expressed confidence in third-stringer Mike Tomczak. Asked to name a third “disaster” quarterback, Ditka said, “It’s a toss-up between Walter Payton and William Perry. Perry moves a little better to his left.”

McMahon has been injury-prone since joining the Bears in 1982 and has never completed a full professional season. Last year he suffered a lacerated kidney in the ninth game and never returned.

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