The Chicago Bears have lost starting defensive tackle Henry Melton for the season due to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.
Coach Marc Trestman confirmed the season-ending injury Monday and said Melton will have surgery in a few weeks.
Melton was designated the team's franchise free agent this year and received $8 million, but is without a contract for next year. He had six sacks last season and seven in 2011, playing alongside defensive end Julius Peppers. He had a fumble recovery this season.
The Bears will replace Melton with former New York Giants defensive tackle Nate Collins and will likely have undrafted rookie Zach Minter active for Sunday's game in Detroit. Minter has not yet played this season.