Johnny Knox unlikely to return this season

The Chicago Bears have been without Johnny Knox as the wide  receiver attempts to come back from a back injury. Even with the production of Brandon Marshall and the hype around rookie Alshon Jeffery it is clear the Bears still miss the big play ability of Knox.

‘‘I miss him because of what he brought to the table — the speed factor. The ability to stretch the field,’’ Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ‘‘Johnny was getting better and better before he [was injured]. He was averaging 20 yards a catch.’’

Through 10 games last season, Knox had 36 receptions for 712 yards (19.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He was on a pace for 58 receptions for 1,139 yards — only 75 fewer than Marshall had with the Dolphins last season (81-1,214, 6 TDs).

Marshall is having a fine season with 50 catches for 675 yards (13.5 yards per catch) and four touchdowns.

Marshall may be headed to the Pro Bowl with his numbers but the Bears have struggled to find a number two. Devin Hester is second on the team with 11 catches and 157 yards.

Knox lost 30 pounds off his 6-0, 185-pound frame after surgery. He has worked to get back into football shape but it is unlikely he will be activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.