Brian Urlacher will return to practice today for the first time since July 31.
The Chicago Bears middle linebacker has had surgery on his left knee since then, undergoing a minor procedure Aug. 12, but says he is pain free and will play in the season opener Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field.
“My expectations are to be out there with my teammates practicing (Monday),'' Urlacher told the Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “I might not have as many reps because I'm not quite where I want to be with wind and being in shape. But I expect it to be a normal practice, with a few less reps.”
Urlacher sprained two ligaments in his left knee in the 2011 season finale on Jan. 1 at Minnesota. He sat out the entire offseason program and practiced for the first week in training camp. He has yet to address a Chicago Tribune report that he went to Germany in the spring to undergo alternative treatment for the knee.
“I feel good,” he said. “I've been able to do everything that I've needed to do on the field. That's not an issue for me anymore. I have no pain, so that's good.”
With any luck, Urlacher will be good to go. He’s been a durable performer throughout his career with the Bears. The 34-year-old is entering the final year of his contract and admits he doesn’t know about the future.
“This is the last year of my deal. Whatever happens, happens,” Urlacher said in an interview on Fox-32’s “The Final Word. “I’m going to play the best I can this year and hopefully I can stay healthy, play 16 games and then whatever we have in the playoffs. Then, we’ll approach it after that. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘I want to play four more years’ right now. Because before my knee was hurt (in training camp), I thought I could play four more. My knee just isn’t the same anymore. It’s never going to be the same.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune