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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Losses are piling up for the Chicago Bears and now the injuries are, too.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been ruled out for the Dec. 15 home game against the New Orleans Saints due to two fractured ribs and a lung injury, and the Bears have other injuries to consider in addition to a 5-8 record that has coach Marc Trestman fielding questions about his future with the team.
Marshall was taken to the hospital by ambulance after leaving Thursday night's 41-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter. He was hit in the right side by the knee of Dallas defensive back Barry Church after making a catch.
"I went over to the hospital last night to see him," Trestman said Friday. "He was in very good spirits. He's got some healing to do, obviously, and he'll be out for the week certainly and we'll see where he is as we move along. But he had a smile on his face. He was in good spirits."
Whether Marshall plays again this year will depend on further evaluation of his injuries, according to a team spokesman.
Trestman said both Marquess Wilson and Josh Morgan are options to replace Marshall in the Monday night game with New Orleans.
One player Trestman is more certain will start against New Orleans is quarterback Jay Cutler. With the team likely to be eliminated from any mathematical playoff chances either Sunday or the following week, Trestman said he has no intention of starting backup Jimmy Clausen just to take a look at him.
"Jay is our quarterback," Trestman said. "If he's available to play, he's going to play."
Chicago's chief goal on offense going forward will be to find a way to run the ball after back-to-back efforts of 15 and 35 rushing yards. Trestman and the coaching staff received criticism for a franchise-low eight rushes the previous week against Detroit and the Bears ran just 15 times against Dallas.
"They've given us run plays and we haven't made those blocks and gotten positive yards on those runs," center Roberto Garza said. "So we have to be able to go out there and get positive yards every time they call a run to be able to keep running the football."
Defensively, the Bears appear to be in shambles after they gave up a season-worst 194 rushing yards Thursday, but had been yielding yardage through the air at an alarming rate prior to the loss to Dallas.
Injuries continue to plague the defense. Safety Chris Conte, bothered by concussions, eye and shoulder injuries this season, left Thursday's game with a back injury. It's led to questions about whether Conte is physically able to play football.
"He loves football, he wants to play football," Trestman said. "When he's cleared to play, we play him."
After an 8-8 record his first year and a 5-8 start this year, Trestman and his assistants are fielding questions about the future of the staff. It happened after Thursday's game and his response was simply he has work to do rather than worry about outside talk. On Friday, Trestman said he still has support at Halas Hall from those he called "key parties," chiefly general manager Phil Emery.
"It's been tremendously supportive, during the good weeks and bad weeks," he said. "And it's been extremely consistent by everybody here."