Lovie Smith says Brian Urlacher will practice next week

More than two weeks removed from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher remains sidelined.

But coach Lovie Smith said he expects to see the mainstay in his defense back on the field next week and the goal is for Urlacher to play in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 9. Urlacher has not practiced since July 31 and has not played in preseason.

The Bears have a walk-through today and will close out the exhibition portion of their schedule on Thursday at Cleveland. The team returns to practice Monday and that would presumably give Urlacher a week to knock off the rust before facing the Colts.

Brian is making a lot of progress," Smith said. "Just like we've said all along, I expect to see No. 54 out on the practice field next week and playing against the Colts.”

Urlacher had surgery on Aug. 14. He has declined to discuss reports in the Chicago Tribune that he sought alternative treatment for his knee in Germany during the offseason.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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