2:40pm: Marshall is out for the rest of the season, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Facebook link).
1:41pm: Marshall broke two ribs last night and also injured a lung, the Bears announced today (Twitter links). The wideout, who remains in hospital due to the lung issue, will definitely miss next week’s game against the Saints, though the club has yet to rule him out for the season.
8:53am: The 5-8 Bears aren’t technically eliminated from playoff contention yet, but the team may need a couple more wins this season merely to stay out of last place in the NFC North, let alone to make a long-shot run at the postseason. As Chicago prepares for its final three games, it appears likely that the team will be without wide receiver Brandon Marshall for the rest of the season. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Bears believe Marshall fractured his ribs, and his spleen is being examined as well.
Marshall, 30, has seen his overall numbers slip this season, averaging just 55.5 receiving yards per game, his lowest mark since his rookie year. Still, that dip in production can probably be attributed in large part to the Bears’ overall struggles, rather than to a steep decline in Marshall’s own performance. The Bears locked up the veteran wideout to a contract extension earlier this year that keeps him under team control through the 2017 season, so it would make sense for the club to play it safe and shut down Marshall this year, ensuring that he gets healthy for the future.
If the Bears decide that Marshall, who sustained his injury in last night’s loss to the Cowboys while taking a hit after a catch, can’t return this season, a move to the injured reserve list would be the next move. That would allow the Bears to open a spot on their 53-man roster. If Marshall misses the season’s final three games, it could also give Jay Cutler and the offense an opportunity to take a longer look at second-year receiver Marquess Wilson, whose role would presumably increase.