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Bears WR Johnny Knox doesn’t want to be left behind

Updated: September 4, 2012 6:24AM

BOURBONNAIS — The end of the story already is written in Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox’s mind.

He’s standing on the stage at the ESPYs, holding up the award for comeback athlete of the year.

Yes, the end is written, but all the chapters leading up to it are still blank.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve already planned it out,’’ Knox said. “It’s always in the back of my head. I saw [Lions quarterback Matthew] Stafford win comeback player of the year for the ESPYs and eventually I plan to come back and do great things like he did and win something like that.’’

If only his body would start cooperating a little more.

Last December in a game against the Seahawks, Knox suffered a serious back injury and had to have immediate surgery. The rehab has been slow, even for simple things such as walking correctly.

“Each week I see an improvement,’’ Knox said. “The way I run, my strength, even the way I walk, so those are short-term goals that I set. I want to improve on something each week. That’s what I’ve been able to do.’’

The problem is that Knox’s 2012 is still a big question mark, and this is a business that doesn’t always wait for players to return from injury.

On top of that, don’t think that Knox hasn’t noticed all the talent the Bears suddenly have amassed at receiver.

“That’s probably one of the hardest things mentally,’’ Knox said, “just sitting back and watching the guys. I’m happy for them, but in a selfish way, I want to be out there doing those types of things. They’re out there having fun and ballin’. I just have to use that as a push to get back out there and do what they’re doing.’’

Knox isn’t even thinking about the possibility that he might not have a spot to return to when, and if, he’s healthy enough to get back on the field.

He has 133 receptions and 12 touchdowns and has been a special-teams force in his first three seasons with the Bears, but the game moves on.

“I’m kind of trying to do my best in staying away from thinking about that and keep my main focus on rehabbing,’’ Knox said. “But, you know, with a guy injured, that’s kind of to be expected. I just have to look past that, keep doing what I’m doing and see how it works out.’’

Writing one chapter at a time.

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