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Devin Hester’s injury not serious, says Bears coach Lovie Smith

Scott M Bort/Post-Tribune Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler talks with Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz during divisional playoff game Sunday Solider

Scott M Bort/Post-Tribune Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler talks with Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz during the divisional playoff game Sunday at Solider Field in Chicago. The Bears defeated the Seahawks 35-24 and will face NFC North rivals Green Bay for the NFC Championship.

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Updated: November 19, 2011 8:52AM



With Earl Bennett entering his fifth week of recovery from a ‘‘chest bruise,’’ Devin Hester leaving Sunday night’s 39-10 victory over the Vikings with a chest injury sounded ominous.

But coach Lovie Smith said Monday that Hester’s injury ‘‘shouldn’t be serious,’’ and it’s not expected to prevent Hester from playing Sunday against the Buccaneers in London.

‘‘We’re going to put it in the bumps-and-bruises section,’’ Smith said.

Hester caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in the first quarter and added a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter — extending his NFL record for career kick-return touchdowns to 16.

He caught five passes for 91 yards before leaving with the chest injury one play after a four-yard reception in the last minute of the third quarter.

Talk of the town

Whomever Cutler was cursing at on the Bears’ sideline, Smith doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

NBC’s cameras and field microphones caught an irritated Cutler turning toward his sideline and yelling an expletive as he broke the huddle on a third-and-seven play with 43 seconds left in the first half. The Bears were leading the Vikings 23-3 at the time.

Asked if Cutler was upset during the game, Smith said, ‘‘I don’t think many guys were upset last night. You’ve got to be careful about those cameras and the access you guys [reporters] get now. Some things you don’t want to know. There’s got to be more important things to talk about than that type of stuff.’’

Injury update

Tight end Kellen Davis aggravated an elbow injury but isn’t expected to miss any time. Defensive end Julius Peppers apparently is fully recovered from a sprained knee that had him doubtful for the Vikings game.

Smith reported no other injuries from the game.

Room to improve

The Bears’ defense held the Vikings to 286 yards — 30 below their season average — held Adrian Peterson to 39 yards on 12 carries and scored on Stephen Paea’s sack of Donovan McNabb for a safety. But Smith wasn’t happy that the Bears had no takeaways.

The Bears have eight takeaways through six games — four interceptions and four fumbles. Last year, they had 14 through six games — seven interceptions and seven fumbles.

‘‘[It’s hard] for us to be really excited about a defensive effort if you don’t take the ball away a little more,’’ he said.

Coach battle

Smith avoided comment on the postgame tiff between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz after the 49ers’ 25-19 victory at Ford Field. He did say he has never been in a situation like that at the postgame handshake.

‘‘I normally go over and congratulate the coach,’’ Smith said. ‘‘ ‘Good luck next week’ and move from there. I haven’t had any issues.’’



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