(AP) The Chicago Bears say middle linebacker D.J. Williams will miss the remainder of the season because of a chest injury.
Williams ruptured his left pectoral muscle tendon during Thursday's win over the New York Giants.
Coach Marc Trestman was not sure how the injury occurred. Williams, signed in the offseason to help replace Brian Urlacher, left in the third quarter, the latest injury for a defense that's had its share. The Bears visit Washington next week, and with Williams out, rookie Jonathan Bostic figures to start in his place.
Season-ending knee injuries to defensive tackle Henry Melton and his replacement Nate Collins, not to mention a turf toe injury that's kept Stephen Paea out of the past two games, have forced Chicago to do some major shuffling in the interior. Corey Wootton had to move inside from defensive end and Julius Peppers has been seeing time there, too.
Besides those issues, Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman has dealt with groin and right knee problems in recent weeks. The knee issue kept him out of Thursday's game, although Trestman said he would have been able to play if the game was on Sunday.
Even when the Bears were healthy, they had some issues on defense, particularly with their pass rush. Now, they're trying to fill major gaps in the lineup, and the list just grew again with Williams' injury.
"We're not making excuses, but again, we're sitting there without Charles," Trestman said. "We're sitting there without Stephen. We've got some young guys in there working. They haven't worked (with) Peppers. They haven't worked with Shea (McClellin) as much. Corey is inside, working inside. But I do believe that just experience-wise, playing 36 minutes (against New Orleans) and the type of game we played on Sunday did have a residual effect on our defense last night."
As for Williams, he was getting sort of a second chance when he signed a one-year deal with Chicago in March. He missed nine games with Denver last season while serving a pair of league-mandated suspensions, and was released by the Broncos on the eve of free agency, freeing them of his $6 million salary.
He served a six-game punishment for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs and three games for an alcohol-related arrest in 2010 that led to a conviction last August.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org