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Matt Forte, Eddie Royal do not have season-ending injuries

Bears coach John Fox said Monday that running back Matt Forte and receiver Eddie Royal did not suffer season-ending knee injuries against the Vikings on Sunday at Soldier Field.

“Right now the feeling is, and again it’s not exact because we’re done with it, I don’t see it being season-ending on either one,” Fox said at Halas Hall. “Even at this point, it’s not an [anterior cruciate ligament], surgically repaired stuff moving forward.”

Fox reiterated that surgery is not expected for either player.

“We’ll update when we reconvene later in the week,” Fox said.

Forte was hurt early in the third quarter on a screen play. He was struck in his legs by safety Harrison Smith. Forte’s right foot was planted in the turf when Harrison struck, bending his right knee and leg.

Losing Forte for any amount of time hurts the Bears’ offense immensely. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase described the 29-year-old as “elite” multiple times last week. This season, Forte has run for 548 yards on 136 attempts and has caught 25 passes for 219 yards.

On a personal level, this also is a big season for Forte. He’s in the final year of his contract and turns 30 in December.

Rookie Jeremy Langford, a fourth-round pick, took for over for Forte in the second half against the Vikings. He finished with 12 carries for 46 yards, but had a key drop on a third-and-5  in the final two minutes.

Quarterback Jay Cutler was asked where Forte ranks among players that the Bears absolutely can’t lose to injury.

“He’s up there. He’s definitely up there,” Cutler said Sunday. “I talked about the importance of him [last] week and how important he is to this team, how versatile he is.

“I think Jeremy Langford is in that mold. He doesn’t have the experience that Matt does by any means, but he can catch, he can run, he can block.”

It’s unknown when Royal was hurt, but he caught three passes for two yards on screen plays in the first half of Sunday’s game. He was ruled out with a left knee injury. Marc Mariani took his place on offense.


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Email: ajahns@suntimes.com