BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – Expect to see Brian Urlacher on the field for the Chicago Bears' season opener.
None other than Urlacher says so.
The middle linebacker underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee Tuesday morning. He spoke Thursday for the first time since before the decision was made to have the surgery. He first injured the knee Jan. 1 in the regular-season finale against Minnesota and tried to rehab it without surgery.
The 34-year-old, eight-time Pro Bowl player never had any type of knee surgery until Tuesday.
"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 said.
"It's just taken longer than I wanted. 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."
Coach Lovie Smith had announced earlier in the week after the surgery that Urlacher would be able to rehab, with the Sept. 9 game against Indianapolis at Soldier Field as a target date. Urlacher agreed with the assessment.
However, he said it's possible he may have problems with the knee throughout this season.
"We'll have to see," he said. "There might not be any. I don't know. I'm sure it's not going to feel comfortable all season long. I don't think after the first (regular-season) game anyone's healthy.
"I'm sure we'll have to manage it," he said. "Plus, I'm a little older now. I think it was '04 or '05 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."
Urlacher said he consulted with team doctors and trainers Monday night. He hadn't practiced since July 31 and missed the first preseason game. Although he said Sunday the pain had diminished since he stopped practicing, it hadn't gone away completely.
So the decision was made to have the scope
"You never want to get surgery," he said. "If you can avoid it you want to.
"But this is kind of the last resort to get it cleaned out and get the swelling down."
The Bears close their Bourbonnais portion of training camp Friday, and plan to finish the preseason with Geno Hayes playing strong side linebacker and regular strong side linebacker Nick Roach filling in for Urlacher in the middle.
Chicago faces the Redskins on Saturday at Soldier Field in its second preseason game.