Bears quarterback Jay Cutler cleared to play after thumb injury

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears attempts to tackle Nigel Bradham #53 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears attempts to tackle Nigel Bradham #53 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – The Bears quarterback controversy may have taken care of itself.

Head coach John Fox announced Monday that Jay Cutler has been cleared by doctors to play again.

Cutler had been sidelined since the second game of the season with strained ligaments in his throwing thumb.

It’s unclear if he would have taken back his starting job right away, but the door was left wide open after Brian Hoyer went down with a broken left arm last Thursday night in Green Bay.

Fox said Hoyer had surgery on Sunday and is likely headed for the injured reserve list.

During his time as the starter, Hoyer set a franchise record for the Bears, throwing for 300-plus yards in four consecutive games.

Hoyer’s immediate replacement against the Packers, Matt Barkley, didn’t give Bears fans much hope of finding another diamond in the rough.

Barkley completed just six passes for 81 yards on 15 attempts, two of which ended up in the hands of Green Bay’s defense.

Cutler’s first start is going to be a tough one, facing off against one of the best defenses in the league – the Minnesota Vikings – on Monday Night Football, no less.