Brian Urlacher could play in final 2 preseason games

Brian Urlacher came out of Saturday’s preseason game after the fourth play with a strained left calf muscle.

He stood on the sideline for the remainder of the first half with ice on his leg, and was held out of practice on Monday at Halas Hall. But the Chicago Bears plan to play Urlacher in the third and fourth preseason games, provided he’s healthy.

“If he's healthy and ready to go, we will play him,” coach Lovie Smith told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “Guys don't want to take off. They want to get better every day. So if he's healthy, he'll practice and play.”

Urlacher’s health is of primary concern for the Bears as he missed 15 games last season with a wrist injury. He’s had a solid training camp and the Bears need him in the middle of a defense that was pierced by Jason Campbell and the Oakland Raiders on Saturday. Urlacher compared the latest injury to one he suffered three years ago. Urlacher tweaked his calf on a Tuesday but still played in a Thursday night game at Washington.

Strong-side linebacker Nick Roach, in a competition with Pisa Tinoisamoa for the starting job, will be sidelined for a few days with a knee issue. If he’s out until the end of the week, it could help Tinoisamoa separate himself. The Bears are expected to give the job to Tinoisamoa, but nothing is settled.

The Bears will play their starters into the third quarter Saturday night when the Arizona Cardinals visit Soldier Field. Smith typically plays his first team one series in the final preseason game, which for the Bears will be Sept. 2 at Cleveland. Whether or not Urlacher is ready, we’ll see. Even though he was held out of practice Monday, he was moving well on the field.

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