Bears place G Lance Louis on IR with knee injury


Bears place G Lance Louis on IR with knee injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The Chicago Bears will be without starting right guard Lance Louis for the rest of the season because of a left knee injury. And for that, they are not happy with Minnesota's Jared Allen.

The Bears placed Louis on injured reserve Monday, a day after he was hurt in a win over Minnesota. That happened on a hit by Allen that clearly didn't sit well with Chicago coach Lovie Smith.

While the team declined comment on the extent of the injury, a person familiar with the situation said Louis had a tear in his ACL, confirming reports by several outlets. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the situation.

``Yes. I did,'' Smith said when asked if he thought the hit was unnecessary. ``Jared Allen plays the game a certain way, a good player in our league. I think there are some plays when you look at them again, you say, `Hey, we could have done without that.' I think our game could do without that play.

``We have an injured player right now based on it. I think he could have gotten blocked a little bit differently, but that's about all I can probably say about it. I'm sure the league will look at it and give another opinion about what they think.''

The play happened after Chicago's Brandon Marshall tipped a pass from Jay Cutler. The Vikings' Antoine Winfield picked it off, and as he returned the interception, Allen launched himself at Louis for a blindside hit to the head. Louis' leg got caught in the turf, and as he fell, his knee buckled awkwardly beneath him. Louis was done for the game, and now for the season.

No penalty was called and Allen defended the hit afterward, saying he thought it was legal.

Like Smith, Bears defensive end Israel Idonije objected.

``There have been a number of rules put in the game now that you can't hit a defenseless player,'' he said. ``Lance is clearly, his vision is downfield. Allen hits him on his blind side. At that point of the game, he could have easily (hit him) shoulder to shoulder, he could have laid him out with just using his hands to his chest. Lot of options. Lance is quick. He's fast. But it's not a situation where he was just blazing and he had to lay him out to make a saving play. He hit him that way because he chose to hit him that way. Unfortunate, because Lance has played very well for us.''

Now, the Bears will have to make do without Louis.

They also lost top running back Matt Forte and star cornerback Charles Tillman to ankle injuries, along with return specialist and receiver Devin Hester to a concussion. Left guard Chris Spencer also left the game with a knee injury, leaving Chicago (8-3) without its two starting guards.

Their status for this week's game against Seattle (6-5) remained up in the air. But this much is clear: Louis is out for the rest of the season.

A seventh-round draft pick in 2009, Louis started all 11 games at right guard this season after making two starts there and 11 at right tackle a year ago.

The injuries on the line put the Bears in a tough spot.

They have capable backups for Forte and Hester in Michael Bush and Eric Weems. Tillman had his helmet on for much of the second half and didn't appear to be hurt too badly on Sunday.

But the offensive line is thin at the moment.

The Bears had already shuffled their rotation after a blowout loss at San Francisco, with Jonathan Scott replacing Gabe Carimi as the starting right tackle and Spencer moving into the lineup after Chilo Rachal left the team.

The Bears signed guard Chris Riley to the practice squad and promoted James Brown to the 53-man roster last week.


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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agency frenzy

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—Free agency frenzy

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 17, 40 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Redskins and NFL free agency tracker—I started this a week ago today and it grew to 3,500 words. The problem was there wasn’t much to add by the time that free agency actually started at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The legal tampering period or, as I dubbed it to avoid an oxymoron being used, the “permitted tampering-like activities period” was when all of the news happened. By the time actual free agency opened on Wednesday afternoon it pretty much was all over. Thanks to those of you who followed along.

Zach Brown agrees to terms with Redskins, per source—Since Kirk Cousins’ departure was a foregone conclusion, Brown was the Redskins’ most important free agent. His retention provides continuity in the defense and that will benefit both the team and Brown. His contract (preliminary numbers three years, $24 million) showed that the Redskins are willing to invest some money in the inside linebacker spot for the first time since Joe Gibbs brought in London Fletcher to play middle linebacker in 2007.

Report: Kirk Cousins to sign epic new deal with Vikings—We heard you, folks. The collective voice of the fans who visit NBC Sports Washington on a regular basis let us know that you were not interested in a lot of posts about the Cousins saga that was unfolding in Minnesota. So this was one of very few articles on Cousins that we posted even though Cousins posts have been popular, but with the vast majority of traffic coming from out of town. So, you’re welcome. It should be noted that we will write about Cousins in the future but infrequently.

Redskins officially announce 5-year deal with WR Richardson—He was the opening act for the Alex Smith press conference, and he handled himself very well. If Richardson is even moderately successful I think he will be a major fan favorite.  

Tweet of the week

Here is what fans need to know—a team can afford to do virtually anything it wants in free agency in a given year. If they wanted to the Redskins could restructure deals and sign all of their free agents to contracts that have very small first-year cap hits, creating room to sign the Honey Badger or Suh. The problems come in later years when the cap space you pushed back starts to pile up. The Redskins generally do squeeze free agent contracts into relatively small cap spaces. For example, Richardson’s deal average $8 million per year but the 2018 cap hit is just $4 million. But they don’t like to restructure deals to push money back into later years. That created problems during the Vinny Cerrato years.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 30
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 132
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 176

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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Wizards vs. Pacers: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Victor Oladipo, Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:


Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream:
Radio: 1500 AM

Season series on the line

The Wizards and Pacers square off for the third and final time this season on Saturday night and the game will represent the tiebreaker for the season series. The Wizards beat the Pacers in their first meeting on Feb. 5 and Indiana then got even on March 4. The first game did not feature Victor Oladipo. John Wall didn't play in either of them.

Whichever team wins on Saturday night will own the playoff tiebreaker, meaning that team will get the better seed in the even they finish with the same regular season record. Right now only one game separates the teams, so that could definitely come into play. With a win over the Pacers, the Wizards could also move into third place in the East. They would tie the Pacers by record and own the head-to-head series. The one variable there is the Cavs play the Bulls on Saturday. If they win and the Pacers lose, the Cavs will be in third.


Wizards have been struggling

The Wizards won their last game on the road against the Celtics, but have lost five of their last eight overall. They remain in good shape in the big picture, but could use some positive momentum. A win over the Pacers would certainly give them that with three off days awaiting on the other end before they head out to San Antonio to face the Spurs.

Defense has been the problem. During this eight-game stretch, they have allowed the second-most points in the paint per game (53.8), the ninth-most points per game (111.0) overall and the fourth-highest opponents shooting percentage (49.3). 


Pacers are tough

The Pacers may be missing two of their best big men on Saturday as Domantas Sabonis has been ruled out and Myles Turner is questionable. Both are nursing sprained left ankles. That bodes well for the Wizards' defense in the paint, but Indiana still has plenty of firepower.

Oladipo is having a terrific season with averages of 23.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game. There's also Bojan Bogdanovic, a former Wizards player who is averaging 14.0 points and shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three this year. Bogdanovic has scored 20 points or more in each of his games against the Wizards this season. The Pacers as a team have won six of their last eight.


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