Bears DT Henry Melton ACL Torn, Out For Season
By Allen Kim
The Chicago Bears fear that DT Henry Melton tore his left ACL last night in their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Melton went down in the fourth quarter of the game, and he had to be carted off the field.
The loss of Melton, who went to the Pro Bowl last season, would hurt the Bears defense tremendously. He plays a pivotal role on the defensive line, and the team will have to make a number of adjustments to account for his loss.
“You can’t replace a Henry Melton,” said LB Lance Briggs. “He is an elite D-lineman. He will be missed. The next man has to step up and do his job. Phil Emery and our coaching staff will find the right guys.”
Stephen Paea and Nate Collins are expected to fill in for the injured Melton while he undergoes more tests to determine the extent of the injury. If it is a torn ACL as the team fears, the team will likely add another big body to help out at the defensive tackle position.
“I don’t know what to say,” Paea said. “Injuries will come and we just have to deal with it. It is huge for us that we lose him. I feel like we have to think positive. The next guy has to step up. The season will keep going.
“This is going to be interesting because me and Nate both play the nose but we can play three.”
Melton is currently playing on a one-year, $8.45 million contract. He’ll be a free agent next year, and it remains to be seen how the injury will impact his hopes of landing a multi-year contract.
Update: ESPN confirmed that Melton tore his ACL, and he's going to miss the rest of the season.
"We lost a very good player," coach Trestman said. "Unfortunately it's a next-man-up situation where the next guy has to come up and be ready to play and help our football team. We're not happy about it, but the downside of the National Football League is players are going to get hurt, and the team has to respond."