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Bears’ Montgomery out a month with knee sprain

Chicago will be without its top tailback for a little while.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bears and David Montgomery have caught quite the fortunate break with his knee. The third-year running back will miss the next 4-5 weeks with a knee sprain, reports ESPN’s Dan Graziano. During Sunday’s 24-14 victory over the Lions, the FOX broadcast team declined to replay the injury because it was so “gruesome,” making this very welcome news.

Montgomery had been enjoying a career season as a rusher through the first month of the year. At this juncture, he is fifth in the NFL in rushing with 306 yards while averaging a robust 4.5 yards per carry. As Justin Fields continues to develop, Montgomery was inarguably Chicago’s most consistent and reliable offensive option in the meantime. His bruising 106 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions are direct evidence of a proper bell-cow back.

Now the Bears will have to carry on without the 24-year-old for at least the next month of play. That’s an unfortunate reality on what might turn out to be the toughest portion of the schedule with road games at the Raiders and defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers and home dates against the Packers and 49ers. With Montgomery out, the Bears will need all hands on deck on offense to keep the ship afloat against such a slate.

At least, in this respect, Chicago is deep at tailback. Montgomery’s primary backup, Damien Williams, is an experienced and capable starter who chipped in 55 rushing yards of his own against Detroit. There’s also the rookie Khalil Herbert, who the Bears are high on outside of his regular return duties.

Losing a player like Montgomery for an extended period isn’t ideal for an offense trying to break in a young quarterback. But the Bears’ backfield fail-safes are better than average, and they avoided the worst injury news. That’s a development everyone at Halas Hall, Montgomery included, takes 100 percent of the time.