Urlacher has been at practice doing some running drills on the side, but not partaking in any of the drills. He knows the defense like the back of his hand, but he needs to be healthy and not rush back onto the field.
“I hate sitting out,” Urlacher said Sunday via Chicagobears.com. “I practiced the first four or five days and felt pretty good, and then it got sore and a little swollen, so I’m taking some time off right now.”
“Sept. 9, I’ll be ready to play for sure,” Urlacher said on Sunday. “That’s really all that matters to me. Preseason games and all these practices, I’d love to be out there. But I’m not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game.”
So, what does this injury ultimately mean to the Bears’ playoff chances? It means a lot. We already saw how much weaker the defense was without him in 2009.
I’m not saying Nick Roach isn’t a capable replacement in the middle, but Urlacher is the voice and leader of that defense.
He is aiming for the Week 1 home opener against Indy and that’s great, but the question remains whether he’ll be 100 percent by that time.
Here’s what the surgery entails, according to Carol Eustice of About.com:
Arthroscopic debridement, specifically, involves using surgical instruments to remove damaged cartilage or bone. The surgeon typically does a washout or joint lavage to remove any debris around the affected joint. If loose bodies or fragments remain after the lavage, they are removed.
Right tackle Gabe Carimi went through this surgery a year ago.
Ultimately, the Bears are doing the right thing with Urlacher. Taking care of the knee injury now is key for the entire season. If they just left it alone they could have faced the idea of being without him for most of the season.
You can say all you want the Bears shouldn’t have played him in the season finale against Minnesota a year ago, but no one knew he would collide with safety Major Wright and suffer a freak MCL injury like that.
“It’s probably going to be (an issue all season long),” Urlacher said via Fox Chicago. “I don’t see it getting any better during the season. We have to manage it, my reps in practice and then get through Sunday.”
Practicing at the beginning of camp clearly didn’t help Urlacher’s knee. He admitted that he needs to “ease into things” rather than push it to hard. He made it clear he has “to be out there when the regular season starts.”
The status of Urlacher will continue to be monitored. At age 34, he will likely need some extra time to get back to full strength. It’s very unfortunate for one of the most of talented Bears teams in years that No. 54 isn’t at 100 percent with just under a month before the season opener.
Now isn’t the time to panic just yet, but if his status is the same come three weeks from now, there’s a reason to be nervous. The 2012 season banks a lot on the status of Brian Urlacher’s health.