Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher went through an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left knee, GM Phil Emery announced.
Emery declared the goal remains for Urlacher to be ready for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Colts.
Urlacher sprained the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee in the Bears’ 2011 regular-season conclusion in Minnesota when safety Major Wright collided with him going for an interception at the end zone.
Urlacher missed all the offseason exercise programs but consistently maintained he would be 100% for training camp. But after participating in the 1st several practices, the knee started to swell, and the 34-year-old hasn’t practiced since. Although some absences from practice were due to what was described as private reasons, it’s obvious the knee issues aren’t going away.
“As Brian came back, he was moving around extraordinarily well in the early stages of camp,” Emery said. “It reached a place where he began feeling soreness. He started having some slight swelling.
“We decided it was best to be as conservative and careful as we could to give him the rest he needed. He had that rest. He felt better. He came back. He started practicing. He didn’t feel completely comfortable with it.. Consulting with Brian, talking to our team physicians and trainers, we decided to go forward and go on and have it scoped. Basically a cleanup procedure to try and relieve some of the swelling so the soreness would depart and Brian would be ready for the home opener.”
Emery, who was hired January 28 after Jerry Angelo was fired, was asked why the procedure wasn’t done sooner.
“As far as the procedure to the knee, I wasn’t here at the start of that,” Emery said. “I saw Brian when I came into the situation as someone who was actively rehabbing and working extraordinarily hard and felt good, so that looks like that decision was a good decision. Basketball scores
“It’s just a matter of when he got out here in full-speed reps with pads on and a helmet on and started moving around and making some of the lateral cuts you have to make at that position, he started experiencing soreness and swelling, and the final result is where we’re at now.”
Urlacher in an interview denied having a procedure done to his knee at this point and gave no indication one was imminent.
It’s an important season for Urlacher, who’s entering the last year of his contract. Bears management has announced there won’t be any talks during the season, and while Urlacher asserted he wants to stay with the team that drafted him in 2000, he’s prepared to see what’s available through free agency.
From that perspective, Urlacher was questioned about looking after his knee versus trying to prove he’s healthy.
“It is hard, there is, however, a fine line between pushing it and sort of easing into it, which is what I require to do,” Urlacher announced. “I just have to get back out there. Even if I just practice the week before, I can be in adequate shape to make it thru those games. But I should be out there when the games count.”