Brian Urlacher has just a “couple of stitches” in his left knee and reiterated what he’s been saying for a couple weeks that he will play in the Chicago Bears’ season opener Sept. 9.
Urlacher had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday morning and will almost certainly miss the remainder of the preseason. But his goal remains to be ready to face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 at Soldier Field.
Urlacher suffered a sprained MCL and PCL in the team’s season finale on Jan. 1 and spent the entire offseason rehabilitating. After practicing for about a week in training camp, he was shut down because of swelling and pain in the knee.
“It just didn’t feel like it was getting any better, so we decided as a team and as a training staff that it would be better to do that and that’s what we did,” Urlacher said. “Sept. 9, that’s all I care about. Sept. 9 is all I care about.”
It’s been frustrating for him because he was held out of the team’s offseason program while he rehabilitated and he figured he was good to go when camp kicked off.
“It’s just taken longer than I wanted,” he said. “I felt really good at the beginning of training camp and I think it just aggravated a little bit practicing those first few days. It kind of flared up on me, swelled up and there was some pain in there. It is frustrating because after seven months you’d think you would be healthy again. But I should be good to go now hopefully.”
Urlacher, 34, said he will not be surprised if the club carefully monitors his practice time throughout the season to preserve him for action on Sundays.
“I’m sure we’ll have to manage it,” he said. “Plus I’m a little older now. I think I t was ’04 I pulled my hamstring. I only practiced two days a week and I was young back then. We’ll see how it goes now, but I’m sure it’ll be managed a little closer than it has been in the past.”
Speculation that this is the beginning of the end for the former defensive player of the year does not faze him. Urlacher keeps himself in top shape and he’s confident he will return and be a major impact for a defense that needs him.
“I don’t care what (others) think,” he said. “Ask me another question and I’ll tell you Sept. 9. That’s my goal, that’s what we’re shooting for. The whole time that’s been our goal.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune