Bears RB Benson leaves game with knee injury
Benson, who fumbled on Chicago's previous possession, was hurt with 1:16 to in the opening quarter when he was tackled after a 4-yard gain. After staying on the ground for several minutes as trainers stretched out his knee, Benson got to his feet and walked off.
Benson later left the sideline for the locker room and an announcement was made just before the half that he would not return, dealing the Bears' running attack a blow.
Harper played in the first half with a sprained left ankle and had not practiced since hurting it against New England in the AFC Championship Game.
Tight end Ben Utecht also left early in the third quarter after taking a big hit on a 9-yard reception. The team said he bruised his ribs and was questionable to return. Bryan Fletcher replaced him in the lineup.
The Bears' first-round pick in the 2005 draft, Benson gained 647 yards this season and often spelled starter Thomas Jones, giving the Bears a 1-2 punch in the running game.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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