Chicago Bears offensive tackle Gabe Carimi plans to undergo surgery to stabilize his right knee, a source familiar with the situation confirmed, and although he'll need approximately four months of rehabilitation, the team expects the first-round pick to be able to participate in at least a portion of its offseason program.
The team encourages players to seek second opinions outside the organization, and that's precisely what Carimi did in coming to his decision to undergo more surgery, which is expected to tighten up some of the ligaments in his knee, the source said.
In discussing offseason plans with the team, Carimi -- on injured reserve since Nov. 19 -- told the team he was looking for "something he could do to help improve the stability of his knee" and decided it "just made sense" to undergo the surgery, according to the source.
Another team source made it clear the surgery won't be to "repair" anything in the knee, but rather to tighten ligaments.
Carimi suffered subluxation of his right kneecap in the second quarter of the Bears' Week 2 loss at New Orleans, and underwent arthroscopic surgery Nov. 11.
The 29th pick of the 2011 draft, Carimi started the team's first two games, and was "playing winning football," according to Bears offensive line coach Mike Tice.
Carimi attempted to come back in November after a five-game layoff, and participated in a full practice before the club's Nov. 7 victory at Philadelphia. The team first attempted to work Carimi into limited sessions the week prior.
Tice cautioned against bringing back Carimi too early. Twelve days after the win at Philadelphia, the team made the decision to place Carimi on the injured reserve.
"My experience with guys that come off these severe injuries like Gabe has is you really don't want to have a plan to introduce him until you look at him and watch him on the practice field," Tice said at the time. "As soon as he gains that confidence in that leg, obviously he'll be back on the field."
Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.