Bears QB Andy Dalton has a bone bruise in his knee, what that could mean for his status Week 3 and beyond

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There was never a question whether rookie Justin Fields would take over as the Chicago Bears’ quarterback this season. It was always a matter of when and how.

Well, it looks like the when is Week 3 and the how is an injury to Andy Dalton, who has a bone bruise in his knee, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Dalton injured his knee on a scramble in the second quarter. While Dalton originally tried to play through it, it was clear he couldn’t. He was replaced by Fields, who had an overall rough outing, which was to be expected for a rookie thrown into the action with a game plan tailored for Dalton.

On Monday, Bears head coach Matt Nagy indirectly revealed that Dalton would remain the team’s starting quarterback, if healthy. But Dalton’s knee injury changes things.

While there’s been no official determination for Dalton’s status heading into Week 3, it’s not likely Dalton will be suiting up against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

According to David J. Chao, a former NFL head team doctor, a bone bruise could sideline Dalton for several weeks.

So we’re not talking just Week 3 against the Browns. We’re talking multiple games, which gives Fields an opportunity to step in and take permanent hold of the starting job.

If Fields starts for a few games, and impresses as he has during practice, there’s no way the Bears can go back to Dalton once he’s healthy. If Dalton misses a few games, Fields’ development on the field will be in full swing, and Nagy can’t jeopardize messing that up or losing the locker room.

While it’s not ideal for Dalton to lose his starting job to injury, it’s something that happens in the NFL. And Fields was always going to make his debut this season. It’s just happening sooner than Nagy intended.

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