Tinoisamoa (knee) done for the season

Updated: October 21, 2009, 5:44 PM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPN.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Strongside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa's injured right knee will require surgery, forcing the veteran to miss the rest of the season, according to Bears head coach Lovie Smith.

"It's a shame you didn't get a chance to see Pisa play for an extended period of time," Smith said. "He's a heck of football player, but it's about rehab now after he gets his surgery."

Tinoisamoa tore the PCL in his right knee in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. He returned to action Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons and suffered cartilage damage in the same knee.

The Bears did get some good news at the linebacker position Wednesday as Hunter Hillenmeyer returned to practice on a limited basis.

"Today was the first day I practiced in almost a month, but it was good to be back out there," Hillenmeyer said. "It's amazing how fresh the rest of me feels. I'll do a little more each day, and hopefully have a pretty good idea later in the week."

Hillenmeyer seems like the ideal candidate to replace Tinoisamoa on the strong side -- health permitting. Although the Bears could always move Nick Roach back over, or turn to backup Jamar Williams, who replaced Tinoisamoa in the loss at Atlanta.

Jeff Dickerson covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com.

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.