LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Sore-shouldered quarterback Jim McMahon has a slight tear in the tendon of his right rotator cuff and will be unable to start for the Chicago Bears at Atlanta on Sunday, a team physician said Tuesday.
"We had to struggle to find it," said Dr. Clarence Fossier, who explained that the tear only showed up in the second of two arthroscopic examinations. Fossier said that even with a dye injection, the tear could not be detected until McMahon had exercised the shoulder vigorously.
Just the added irritation of the two tests would set McMahon back another three or four days, Fossier said, so it is unlikely he would be able to play until a week from Sunday.
Coach Mike Ditka ordered the tests to see if McMahon would be ready to throw again Wednesday.
"Mike Tomczak's the starter Sunday if Jim isn't ready," Ditka had said.
Fossier said physicians would merely continue treating the inflammation in McMahon's shoulder for the remainder of the season, but they might decide to perform surgery during the off-season.