Bears thinking long-term after Brian Urlacher's knee surgery
BY SEAN JENSEN Twitter: @seankjensen August 14, 2012 10:18AM
Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher practiced on Friday, but coach Lovie Smith says he's still doubtful for Sunday's game against the Lions. | AP
Year G TK Ast Sack Int
2011-2012 16 84 18 0.0 3
2010-2011 16 97 29 3.5 1
2009-2010 1 3 0 0.0 0
2008-2009 16 79 14 0.0 2
2007-2008 16 93 30 5.0 5
2006-2007 16 93 49 0.0 3
2005-2006 16 98 24 6.0 0
2004-2005 9 53 17 5.0 1
2003-2004 16 88 28 3.0 0
Updated: August 14, 2012 2:29PM
BOURBONNAIS – Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday morning but the goal is still for him to play in season opener on Sept. 9 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Urlacher, who injured his PCL and MCL on a collision with safety Major Wright in the season finale, didn’t participate in any of the offseason program. He practiced at the start of training camp. But he hasn’t practiced since July 31 because of swelling in his left knee. He also was excused for personal reasons, including for the preseason opener last Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
“He’s a competitor, and in his heart, he wants to be out on the field, playing football with the rest of us,” Bears linebacker Lance Brigg said. “It really tears at him that he can’t do that right now.
“But, it’s a long season – a very long season – and we have 16 games to get into the playoffs, in order to get ourselves into a position to play in the Super Bowl and win the thing. That’s what we have to keep in perspective, what’s most important.”
Bears general manager Phil Emery explained to ESPN-1000 the sequence of events.
“We decided it was best to be as conservative and careful as we could to give him the rest he needed. He had that rest. He felt better. He came back. He started practicing,” Emery told ESPN-1000. “He still didn’t feel completely comfortable with it. Consulting with Brian, talking to our team physicians and trainers, we decided to go ahead and move forward and have it scoped.
“Basically a cleanup procedure to try to relieve some of the swelling so that the soreness would go away and Brian would be ready for the home opener.”
During an interview Monday with Fox-32, Urlacher was asked if there was a surgery he could have and miss minimal time.
“I don’t know,” Urlacher told Fox. “I am just going to keep resting right now. I have never had a scope. I don’t know how that stuff works. This is the first time I have ever done anything to my knee so I am kind of new to this.”
Urlacher suggested that the long practices may have made the injury worse.
“But it’s practice. You got to do it,” he told Fox. “I think just the shock of being out there so long and doing so many movements like that was too much for my knee.”
Currently, in Urlacher’s absence, Nick Roach has filled in and veteran Geno Hayes has manned the strong side linebacker spot.
“Nick’s done well, as good as anyone could do right now, with Brian being out,” Briggs said. “He’s played the position before, and he’s comfortable in the position. I think from our defensive unit, he gets us all aligned and playing well and he’s very stout and smart. He knows where he needs to be.”
Added defensive tackle Henry Melton, “Roach is doing a great job of filling in right now, but it’s Brian Urlacher, so we’re definitely going to miss him.”
Meanwhile, Briggs said he’s been impressed with Hayes, and he’s excited to see him play.
“Geno is a playmaker, and I can’t wait to see Geno on the field and what he brings to the table,” Briggs said. “He’s very instinctive. He’s a ball player. And that’s the reason he’s running with the ones right now.”