The Chicago Tribune spoke to Dr. Mark Cohen, a hand surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, who broke down the potential differences between the two injuries.
"Jay Cutler having the surgery now means the bone is broken and shifted or displaced and is not what they call a stable fracture," Cohen said Monday. "It's an unstable fracture. On those, you can't wait because they'll heal crooked or won't heal properly. The guy had a significant thumb injury and he's got to have the bone fixed so the bone can heal. He has no choices. The doctors have no choices. This is cut-and-dried."
Cohen also indicated the Bears' hopes that Cutler will return before the end of the season might be too optimistic.
"It will take the bone 4 to 6 weeks to heal, and he will need at least a couple of weeks to get his mobility back and be able to grip a football with that thumb even after the six weeks," Cohen said. "I don't know the details of the schedule, but to me, the earliest possible return to play for an injury like that is closer to eight weeks."
There has been no word from the Bears as to when Cutler will undergo surgery. Smith simply said Monday the operation will happen as soon as possible.
Cutler has kept quiet throughout the whole ordeal, but he broke his silence Tuesday on Twitter when he thanked fans for their support.