The depth of the Bears defensive line will be tested this week.
Julius Peppers and Matt Toeaina both sprained their knees against the Detroit Lions Monday night. But Toeaina’s sprained knee is expected to sideline him for a couple of weeks. Peppers, meanwhile, has what head coach Lovie Smith called a “minor” knee sprain.
“We’re monitoring it,” Smith said of Peppers’ injury. “Knee is still sore today. Don’t know exactly when he’ll be able to go, but hopefully by Friday he’ll be able to do some things and he’ll be able to go this weekend.”
Peppers hurt his knee on the final play of the first quarter, when he tackled running back Jahvid Best for a one-yard gain.
Peppers tested the knee on the first play of the second quarter, he hobbled off the field and headed for the locker room.
On the second play of the quarter, on third and eight, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford completed a 73-yard touchdown to Calvin Johnson. On the play, Stafford wasn’t pressured. Nick Reed was in the lineup in place of Peppers.
Peppers played through the injury in the second half but also wasn’t on the field for the 88-yard touchdown run by Best in the third quarter.
With Peppers and Toeaina hurt, the Bears are going to count on young linemen to step up. Corey Wootton should be ready to contribute while second-round pick Stephen Paea could be active for the first time this season.
In other injury news, Gabe Carimi is not expected to be ready to play Sunday. And since Frank Omiyale has been benched the last two games, the Bears may look at Lance Louis to start there.
The Bears lamented the injury and absence of Earl Bennett, but he’s also not expected to be ready to play against the Vikings.