Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, broke his thumb yesterday and will possibly miss the rest of what has been a solid season for him and the Bears.

Cutler injured his hand not while attempting a pass or stretching a run for the first down--it was while chasing down a defensive player who had intercepted his pass, according to the Chicago Tribune. Cutler was blocked and hit his hand on the ground. Still, it didn't seem like a big deal at the time as the sometimes enigmatic QB stayed in the game and threw two more passes, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.

There are conflicting reports about just how long Cutler will be out. Vaugn McClure, the Bears beat writer for the Tribune, tweeted today that multiple sources told him Cutler will have surgery and miss 6-8 weeks. McClure also heard, though, that the Bears would not place Cutler on injured reserve, making him available for any potential playoff games. ESPN Chicago, meanwhile, heard that Cutler could miss the rest of the season.

This loss has the potential to sink the Bears season. The team is 7-3 and sitting on the edge of the NFC playoffs, but the glue to their offense has been reliable play from Cutler. With him on the sidelines, they will be forced to line up with Caleb Hanie under center.

Hanie, signed in 2008 as an undrafted rookie out of Colorado State, has appeared in only 4 NFL games and never started. His last appearance was in last years NFC Championship Game after Cutler had to come out with an injury. According to the Tribune, he has thrown 14 NFL regular season passes.

Still, Bears coach Lovie Smith told the Tribune he was confident in his new starter.

Same play from our quarterback position, Smith said. Caleb has played a lot for us around here. We feel comfortable with him being our quarterback. It's always next guy up. We've had other injuries at other positions. That's what it will be. We're a good football team and we still plan on winning.