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Agent: Johnny Knox aims to play in ’12

Wideout Johnny Knox is “schedule” his recovery. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

Wideout Johnny Knox is “on schedule” in his recovery. | Nam Y. Huh~AP

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Updated: April 28, 2012 8:15AM

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As Johnny Knox continues his rehab, Bears president Ted Phillips is among those at Halas Hall hoping for the receiver’s speedy recovery.

“The reality is, we love Johnny Knox, and we’re rooting for him, and we’re hoping he can get back,” Phillips told the Sun-Times on Monday. “And as soon as he gets back, we hope to have the ability to give him an opportunity to earn his spot back because he’s meant a lot to us.”

Earlier Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Knox was scheduled to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, citing multiple sources, and that there was a “strong chance” the receiver wouldn’t play at all in 2012.

Knox has a daunting challenge before him, since he required surgery to stabilize a vertebra in his back after a horrific hit in a 38-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 18 at Soldier Field. If placed on the P.U.P. list, Knox could return after the first six games of the regular season.

But his agent, Marc Lillibridge, reiterated on Monday what he told the Sun-Times last month: Knox has had no setbacks, and he’s aiming to play in 2012.

“We are six months away from that decision,” Lillibridge said Monday.

On his Twitter account, Lillibridge said Knox is “on schedule” and said there’s “no validity” to any questions about his client’s status for 2012.

“We don’t have to make a decision now,” Phillips said. “We’re going to let him rehab, and then we’ll take a look at training camp and see how the offseason is going then make a decision at that point.”

Not that they would rush Knox back, but the Bears added to their depth at receiver by trading for three-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall and signing Eric Weems as an unrestricted free agent.

The Bears traded two third-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to acquire Marshall.

A longtime Dolphins season-ticket holder told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about a recent conversation in which Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told him that his team was going to release Marshall, if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

“[Ross] said they had been shopping [Marshall] for a couple weeks,” Jason Lawrence told the Sun-Sentinel. “Nobody would return their phone calls about getting him. If Chicago didn’t take [Marshall] they would have ended up cutting him very shortly after that, and got nothing.”

Asked about Lawrence’s comments Monday, Ross said, “Brandon Marshall, that’s history.

“We want to go on,” Ross said. “That’s really behind us. It was a trade. He wasn’t cut. We feel like we got fair value and the football team is better for it.”

So do the Bears.

“Personnel acquisitions are always full of risks, for different reasons, depending on the player and the position,” Phillips said. “He’s the kind of playmaker we need.”

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