LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears right tackle Gabe Carimi expressed disappointment Thursday about not being able to participate Sunday in what would have been his first game playing against his favorite childhood team in the Green Bay Packers.
Out indefinitely after suffering subluxation of his right kneecap during Sunday's 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Carimi said his knee currently feels stable, but stressed the need to fight back the temptation to return too soon.
"I was pretty excited to play the Packers this week, just because you know, growing up in Wisconsin, I'm a Wisconsin guy," Carimi said. "So [it] looks like I don't get a shot at them this week, but we get to play them again. I'm looking forward to then."
Carimi suffered the knee injury in the second quarter Sunday, but he "graded [out] really well for while I was in there," he said. Having experienced knee issues in the past, Carimi said he was initially pleased after the injury when he first got up from the turf to walk back to the locker room just before halftime.
"When I got up, I could feel that my knee was 100 percent stable, that it wasn't anything like where I couldn't move it," Carimi said. "I have had it where my knee hasn't felt stable afterward. But I can walk around now. You guys see me. I'm walking around here fine, you know. But there's that pain with the kneecap. So I felt good walking off the field. It wasn't that serious, unstable feeling."
According to doctors, recovery from kneecap subluxation generally takes from four to six weeks. Bears coach Lovie Smith said the tackle will be "out a while," and offensive line coach Mike Tice characterized the rookie's setback as a "serious injury."
Carimi suffered the same injury two years ago while in college at Wisconsin during the Champs Sports Bowl.
But even with the injury from college and Sunday being the same, Carimi cautioned against comparing the recovery process from then to the one he faces now. After partially dislocating the right kneecap in the bowl game, Carimi immediately went home because it occurred in a bowl game, and there wasn't an immediate need for treatment to prepare him for an upcoming opponent.
"It's hard to say because you don't get the right treatment. You're not around the facilities getting all that kind of treatment," Carimi said. "So it's not even fair to give [this injury] the same analysis as with that injury."
Having grown up a Packers fan in the Madison, Wisc. area, Carimi admitted that Sunday's game will be the first he'll actually be rooting for the Bears against the Packers.
"I guess so," Carimi said laughing. "It's more like, 'I guess so' as in it's hard for me to admit that I rooted for the Packers."
Veteran Frank Omiyale will take over for Carimi at right tackle on Sunday, after filling in for the rookie during the second half of Sunday's loss. Omiyale started off last season as the starter at right tackle, before moving to the left side, where he started the final 14 games.
"My mindset is to do what I've been doing as far as preparation and not making it more than what it is, and definitely going out and doing my job," Omiyale said.
As for Carimi, the plan now, he said, is to make sure he comes back 100 percent without suffering any setbacks. Carimi experienced knee issues at Wisconsin, but missed just three games during his four-year college career.
So Carimi now has to hold back the inclination to live up to his reputation as a tough player for the overall good of the team.
"You always have to take that check and make sure that when you come back, that it's gonna be for the whole season," Carimi said. "No one wants you to come back for half a game, and then miss even more. You get these things in life. You just keep on rolling with it."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.