BOURBONNAIS, Ill. Linebacker Brian Urlacher remained sidelined with knee soreness for his fourth straight practice, raising a reasonable doubt that he will be available for the preseason opener Thursday night against Denver.
That call wont be made until later this week but veterans like Urlacher and Julius Peppers, who also sat out most of Sundays practice before a crowd of more than 12,000, need less preseason game time rather than more.
Theres concern with Urlacher, coach Lovie Smith said. But with our veterans, I think I have a pretty good idea what Brian can do. So, if we dont feel he should go, then well hold him out some more. But we havent made that decision yet.
If there is cause for worry, it lies in the fact that the soreness is occurring seven months after the injury, which occurred in the Bears Jan. 1 win at Minnesota.
However, consider: Urlacher has missed games in only two of his 12 NFL seasons, with a season-ending wrist injury (2009) and with multiple hamstring injuries (2004). Knee soreness is unlikely to keep him out when it matters.
And Urlacher is in a contract year, meaning he will be more than a little motivated to show the Bears and the rest of the league that hes just fine, thank you very much.
Its always concern when you have an injury at the end of the year, and you miss some time in the offseason, Smith said. But he should be OK. Its not like he really hurt it any more. You assume hed have some soreness, and hed miss a few of these training camp practices.