CutlerWatch: Lovie Smith unsure of status

Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com has posted our Rapid Reaction for the Chicago Bears' 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans. Before closing up the blog for the evening, let's circle back on two key questions we've already identified relative to quarterback Jay Cutler.

As you know, Cutler didn't return after halftime because of a concussion. That left us wondering exactly when he suffered the concussion and what his status would be for next Monday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. After all, it was the third concussion of Cutler's NFL career and at least the six of his playing career.

Bears coach Lovie Smith, speaking to reporters after the game, said Cutler had "no symptoms until the half." He said the symptoms began clearing afterwards and was "hopeful" Cutler could play against the 49ers but acknowledged: "We can't go that far."

Cutler took an illegal and painful helmet-to-helmet shot from Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins with two minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the first half. He remained in the game for seven more plays after two possessions. When pressed on why he wasn't removed from the game after the Dobbins hit, Smith said: "Didn't have any symptoms. There were a lot of hard hits out there today. You can't start taking guys out for that. When they're injured, then we take them out. But before that? No."

Receiver Brandon Marshall said Cutler "seemed normal to me" in the huddle after the Connor hit and added: " If he was hurting, he wouldn't tell us, anyway. When he was in the huddle, everything was normal."

NFL rules require a player demonstrating concussion symptoms to be removed from a game immediately and evaluated away from the sideline. Those rules are to prevent a player with a concussion from continuing to absorb potentially damaging hits while already injured.

I'm sure there will be more on this in the coming day. Back with you Monday morning.