11/21/2011 08:57 am ET

Jay Cutler Injury: Bears Quarterback Reportedly Sidelined By Broken Thumb

The resurgent Chicago Bears appeared headed in the right direction following the team's 31-20 win over the increasingly hapless San Diego Chargers on Sunday. The win was the Bears' fifth straight and propelled them back into the driver's seat for the No. 6 seed in the NFC with a 7-3 record.

However, the optimism surrounding the team dissipated shortly after the game when it was reported that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had suffered a broken thumb during the game and could miss the remainder of the regular season. Vaughn McClure of The Chicago Tribune tweeted the injury news, citing confirmation from two sources.

Cutler suffered the injury while attempting to tackle Chargers cornerback Antonio Cason as he returned an interception early in the fourth quarter.

Hours after the game, ESPN Chicago reported that Cutler would require surgery, quoting a source close to the situation.

The severity of the injury news came as a bit of surprise as Cutler finished the game and made no mention of being hurt during his postgame remarks to the press. Such a stoic performance by Cutler likely surprises his critics, who have questioned his toughness ever since he pulled himself from last season's NFC Championship Game against the Packers due to a sprained MCL in his left knee.

Barring a move for a free agent (like Marc Bulger?), Caleb Hanie will take over as the Bears' starter for the six games remaining on the regular-season schedule.