The Chicago Bears announced Tuesday morning that LB Brian Urlacher underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left knee.
Urlacher has been at practice doing some running drills on the side, but not partaking in any of the drills. He knows the defense like the back of his hand, but he needs to be healthy and not rush back onto the field.
“I hate sitting out,” Urlacher said Sunday via Chicagobears.com. “I practiced the first four or five days and felt pretty good, and then it got sore and a little swollen, so I’m taking some time off right now.”
“Sept. 9, I’ll be ready to play for sure," Urlacher said on Sunday. "That’s really all that matters to me. Preseason games and all these practices, I’d love to be out there. But I’m not going to put myself in jeopardy of missing the first game.”
So, what does this injury injury ultimately mean to the Bears playoff chances? It means a lot we saw how much weaker the defense was without him in 2009.
I'm not saying Nick Roach isn't a capable replacement in the middle, but Urlacher is the voice and leader of that defense.
He is aiming for the Week One home opener against Indy and that's great, but the questions remains to be will he be 100% by that time.
Here's what the surgery entails:
Arthroscopic debridement, specifically, involves using surgical instruments to remove damaged cartilage
or bone. The surgeon typically does a washout or joint lavage to remove any debris around the affected joint. If loose bodies or fragments remain after the lavage, they are removed.
Right tackle Gabe Carimi
went through this surgery a year ago.
Ultimately the Bears are doing the right thing with Urlacher. Taking care of the knee injury now is key for the entire season. If they just left it alone they could have faced the idea of being without him for most of the season.
You can say all you want the Bears shouldn't have played him in the season finale against Minnesota a year ago, but no one knew he would collide with safety Major Wright and suffer a freak MCL injury like that.
"It's probably going to be (an issue all season long)," Urlacher said via Fox Chicago. "I don't see it getting any better during the season. We have to manage it, my reps in practice and then get through Sunday."
Practicing at the beginning of camp clearly didn't help Urlacher's knee. He admitted that he needs to "ease into things"
rather than push it to hard. He made it clear he has "to be out there when the regular season starts.
The status of Urlacher will continued to be monitored. At age 34 he will likely need some extra time to get back to full strength. This is very unfortunate for one of the most of talented Bears teams in years that #54 isn't at 100% just under a month before the season opener.
Now isn't the time to panic just yet, but come three weeks from now if his status is the same then there's a reason to be nervous. The 2012 season banks a lot on the status of Brian Urlacher's health.
Jake Perper is the owner and head writer for Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Bears.