Bears' Cutler, Forte placed on season-ending injured reserve

The Chicago Bears eliminated any chance of quarterback Jay Cutler and Matt Forte returning from injuries to play in the season-finale, placing both players on injured reserve on Tuesday.

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Bears coach Lovie Smith had avoided in recent days declaring that Cutler or Forte wouldn't play against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cutler was scheduled to have pins removed from his surgically repaired right thumb on Tuesday, and it was unlikely he would play in Minnesota. He has missed the last five games since breaking the thumb against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20.

Previously, Cutler had given himself an outside chance of returning this season.

The Bears had been even more vague about the status of Forte, as Smith said as recently as two weeks ago he expected Forte back at some point during the regular season. Forte sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in Week 13.

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