Concern is really starting to mount at Bears camp as Brian Urlacher missed his fifth straight practice on Monday. The Bears middle linebacker has been plagued with soreness in his left knee.
The same left knee he injured in last season's finale against Minnesota. Urlacher has not practiced since last Tuesday, this recurring pain also kept him out of Family Night last week at Soldier Field.
The defensive captain for the Bears has maintained that his absence from practice is a "pre-caution" and nothing more. But recent statements by Bears' head coach Lovie Smith have many scratching their heads.
During Monday's practice, Smith made the following statement to WMVP-AM: "Brian Urlacher is out and has a personal matter going on, He didn't practice today. So when he does practice we'll be able to tell you more about that. But right now, everything with Brian is like it was last time you saw him out here. He's making progress and we'll see once he gets back out on the football field."
These were remarks made to the media by Lovie Smith on Sunday: "It's always a concern when you have an injury at the end of the year and you miss some time in the offseason. But he should be OK. It's not like he really hurt it any more. I assumed he would have some soreness and he would miss a few of these training camp practices."
Of course this is a complete 360 from Coach Smith saying that Urlacher was "100% and ready to go" when camp opened two weeks ago.
But for now guys like Dominic DeCicco and J.T. Thomas are among the players rotating at Urlacher's position during drills and scrimmages. Even though Urlacher still has a couple of days to heal before Thursday night's preseason opener, he's already being listed as questionable.
And unless he gets back on the field within the next couple of days, I don't see him suiting up against Denver. And if he indeed does miss the game, the Bears should run tests on No.54's knee to make sure there is no serious damage.
But for now the assumption is that Brian Urlacher just needs to rest so his knee can be ready for the season.
In other related news, the Bears have released their "unofficial" depth chart for Thursday's preseason opener: http://www.chicagobears.com/team/PreseasonDepthChart.asp
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