The Chicago Bears announced Wednesday they terminated the contract of receiver Johnny Knox, who missed the entire 2012 season after suffering a back injury in 2011 that required surgery to stabilize a fractured vertebra.

A vested veteran, Knox started in 27 of 45 games from 2009-11 with the Bears, catching 133 passes for 2,214 yards and 12 touchdowns. Knox was in the final year of his contract and received $1.26 million despite spending the entire 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list.

Despite working diligently to rehabilitate, Knox never recovered sufficiently enough to make a return to the team. Multiple sources expressed doubt that Knox will ever return to form given the severity of his injury.

Knox underwent spinal fusion surgery to stabilize his fractured vertebra on Dec. 19, 2011, and the initial prognosis was that it would take approximately six months just to recover enough for him to begin rehabilitation for a return to the football field. The injury was more severe than originally anticipated, and it was later discovered Knox suffered from some nerve damage.

When the Bears convened at Halas Hall last spring for workouts, it became clear Knox would face a difficult recovery. Knox admitted to losing 30 pounds of muscle, and the nerve damage caused the receiver to walk gingerly. Throughout the 2012 season Knox appeared to have regained some of the muscle had had lost, but he still wasn't yet walking normally, which led to doubt about whether he'd ever return to form as one of the club's speedier receivers.