LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears acknowledged on Wednesday the potentially long road to recovery for rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi, who suffered subluxation of the right kneecap Sunday in a 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Bears coach Lovie Smith said Carimi "will be out a while," while offensive line coach Mike Tice admitted the rookie "had a serious injury." Tice also disclosed plans to start veteran backup Frank Omiyale at right tackle Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, adding the team will "find a place to play" for Lance Louis if he's able to return to the lineup.
"He's had it before," Tice said of Carimi's injury. "Hopefully it's not gonna be forever. But it's gonna be an extended period of time [that Carimi is out]. It's unfortunate because he was playing good football for us, and now you've got to replace it. So you replace it, and make sure you can still do some things you want to do offensively. [We've] lost an elite player. That's never a good thing."
The recovery period for subluxation, or partial kneecap dislocation, is generally four-to-six weeks.
So as it stands right now, Omiyale gets the starting nod against the Packers in Carimi's spot. A seven-year veteran, Omiyale started the first two games last season at right tackle, before moving to the left side for the final 14 games.
Omiyale filled in against the Saints with 32 seconds left in the first half, when Carimi sustained the knee injury.
"Absolutely this week, Frank will be the guy. We'd like to get Lance back, and get Lance in the mix," Tice said. "When Lance comes back, we'll find a place for Lance to play. He'll play."
The starting right guard, Louis sprained his right ankle in the season opener against Atlanta, but he practiced Wednesday in a limited capacity. If Louis is able to return Sunday, he'll likely play his natural right guard spot, which was manned last week by backup center Chris Spencer.
Tice expressed concern for the well being of quarterback Jay Cutler, who has been sacked 11 times through the first two weeks of the season and a league-high 63 times over the past two seasons. The coach likened the situation to a player watching his brother take punishment.
Tice said the coaching staff's job is "to put them in positions to be able to look good," but when that doesn't happen "it's embarrassing to us."
"I believe we all have pride," Tice said. "I know I do. We don't want to see him get hit like that. You don't ever want your brother to get touched.
"That should piss you off. If that doesn't piss you off, then we have the wrong guys. My point right now, though, is I don't think we have the wrong guys. I think we have the right guys, and I think we'll get it fixed."
Despite the difficult circumstances concerning pass protection, Tice acknowledged it would be easy to stress the negative, "but you're better off trying to correct the things you can do better as a coach and help your players get in a better position to succeed."
To do that, Tice jokingly admitted he'd try anything.
"I actually lost 12 pounds and I'm trying pads on tomorrow," Tice said, laughing. "I don't know if I've got anything in me but the national anthem. But I'm gonna certainly give it a whirl."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.