Bears’ Henry Melton suffers knee injury, ‘under observation’
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 22, 2013 11:30PM
Updated: September 23, 2013 1:12AM
PITTSBURGH — The Bears lost two starting defenders in the second half Sunday night, and they’re assured of getting just one back.
Defensive tackle Henry Melton was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after injuring his left knee while rushing the passer against Steelers right guard David DeCastro.
Coach Marc Trestman said Melton was “under observation” after the game.
“I don’t know anything at this time,” he said.
Teammates rallied around Melton — who had a fumble recovery and two tackles — after the game.
“It’s hard, man,” defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. “I walked in there, and you just tell him to stay up, man. We have his back.”
Losing Melton would be tough, safety Major Wright said.
“He’s a great player,” Wright said.
Cornerback Charles Tillman was removed from the game after feeling his groin tighten up in the third quarter. Tillman, who also has been fighting a knee injury, said his groin felt “a little tight but rested.”
In praise of Earl
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall praised the play of Earl Bennett, whose diving touchdown grab with 5:48 left seemed to seal the game.
He said that the team talked about unselfishness in chapel Sunday and that Bennett epitomized the word.
“You see a guy take a pay cut and you see a guy who is really a great receiver, a really good receiver, and he’s not getting the ball a lot,” Marshall said. “For him to keep his head in the game and make that play for us, it’s special. It says a lot about his character.”
Getting the start
The rotation at left defensive end opposite Julius Peppers continues for the Bears. Corey Wootton started in place of Shea McClellin, who opened last week’s game against Minnesota. Wootton started the opener against the Bengals.
Wootton and McClellin were the Bears’ most disruptive players in the first two weeks behind defensive tackle Stephen Paea. They will continue to rotate with each other, with Wootton also seeing time at defensive tackle in some passing situations. They’ve also given Peppers some breaks.
This and that
Veteran tight end Heath Miller, a favorite target of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, made his season debut after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament in Week 16 last season. He had three catches for 35 yards and played with a snaps limit.
◆ The Bears’ inactives remained the same from last week. Veteran offensive tackle Jonathan Scott and second-year guard James Brown sat out. Rookie receiver Marquess Wilson, cornerback C.J. Wilson, running back Michael Ford, defensive end David Bass and defensive tackle Zach Minter were inactive for the third consecutive week.
◆ Running back Michael Bush said the team’s composure was the same in its first road game as it was at home.
“I looked at coach when he was calling the plays,” Bush said. “He was showing the same emotions. We practice how we play. We did well in practice this week and came out with the win.”
Contributing: Adam L. Jahns