The Chicago Bears have been largely free of injuries so far during the regular season, but that run of good health came to a crashing end on Sunday night, when defensive tackle Henry Melton had to be carted off the field after suffering an apparent knee injury.
That injury was initially feared to be serious, and those concerns were confirmed on Monday morning when Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted this:
Bears DT Henry Melton tore his ACL - out for the year. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2013
Coach Marc Trestman confirmed the injury Monday afternoon.
The diagnosis is a big blow to a Bears' defensive line that hasn't exactly been world-beaters so far during the season. Melton signed the franchise tender that the team extended to him when they gave him the franchise tag during the offseason, and was in the process of trying to earn a long term extension with the club. This injury obviously casts that into doubt, but more importantly, it's going to be a tough injury to rehab for a player whose calling card is how quick he is in shedding blocks.
For the Bears short-term, this means that Nate Collins will likely shift into the starting tackle role opposite Stephen Paea, but the team will also need to sign another player or two in order to acquire some depth at that position.