CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears runs during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Johnny Knox isn't back on the field. The speedy wide receiver is still recovering from a back injury, but he was on the sidelines at OTAs on Wednesday. Though reports say he looks thinner and still has a long road back to go before he can play again, Knox is staying positive.
He spoke to reporters this afternoon and confirmed he lost about 30 lbs. after the harrowing injury and surgery that resulted from a tackle that bent Knox backward in half like a suitcase. He's gained back 10 of those pounds. Though his long-term goal is to get back on the field, his first goal is to be able to lift weights normally and put on more weight.
"My main focus is in that weight room. That's all I'm focusing on. I'm not in a rush (to return), this is my spine, the core of my body that I'm dealing with. This is not my knee or my ankle or my shoulder...I'm taking my time on this."
But that doesn't mean Knox doesn't have the itch to get back on the field.
“I want to get back out there at the beginning of the season, but who knows?” Knox said. “We’re going to see how that turns out.”
Knox was the Bears top receiver last season. In 14 games, he had 727 yards and averaged nearly 20 yards per reception. Before Jay Cutler was injured, Knox was his favorite target for long bombs.
The Bears prepared for the potential loss of Knox by upgrading the receiving corps by adding Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems and Kelvin Hayden as well as drafting Alshon Jeffery.
But even with so much competition in place, Knox's attitude has stayed positive.
“From day one my mindset has been real positive,” he said. “No letdowns. No setbacks. I’m surrounded by a great group of people, a great organization, friends, family. They keep me positive and I’m staying positive and moving forward.”