The injured left knee of Brian Urlacher passed a very important test on Thursday: The Bears middle linebacker showed off an ability to turn and plant on it, exploding away from the podium as he darted out of his only scheduled press conference of the week.
No setbacks, no wincing, it passed the escape-from-the-media test with flying colors.
Now, can hold up against the Indianapolis Colts in the season-opener on Sunday? That still remains to be seen.
“I’m not worried about it,” Urlacher said of the idea that Indianapolis could go after him as part of their game plan. “We’ll run our Cover 2 and we’ll see what happens. If they want to test me, I’ll have more chances to make plays then.”
What he did admit to is through the first two full practices he’s participated in since back on July 31, he still has a lot of catching up to do.
“No, I’m not up to speed,” Urlacher said. “I know the defense well, but I’ve got to get my technique down and work on some things, but I’m practicing still and that’s all that matters to me. I’ll get it down. The more I’m out there, the more reps I’ll see, I’ll get better. I’m not as out as shape as I thought I would be, so that’s good.”
It’s been a topic that hasn’t died since Urlacher first injured the knee in the finale against Minnesota at the end of last season, especially because he’s had two known procedures on the leg since then. The latest was a scope almost three weeks ago, in which the area was cleaned up.
“I knew I would get back before this first game, so it really wasn’t … it was just a matter of getting back to this point, practicing this week, doing a little bit of stuff last week and getting here this week, getting ready for the game, getting the game plan in,” he continued. “So it really wasn’t frustrating. A little annoying when it happened, but once we did the scope it was fine.”
As far as restrictions for the Colts game, Urlacher said his playing time and number of reps were going to be business as usual as far as he was concerned.
“Just like every other game I’ve played, I plan on playing the whole game,” Urlacher said. “That’s what I plan on doing right now.”
According to the Pro Bowl middle linebacker, the setback he suffered early on in camp was not an injury, as much as just aggravating the knee.
“I ran the whole month of June and July before we got to training camp, but nothing like we were going through in training camp,” he said. “So I think I just aggravated it a little bit and got some things loose in there. We cleaned it out and now it’s good.”
Just don’t ask him if he’s tested the knee yet this week by going all out, making sure it would hold up.
“I don’t even know if I’ve let it go in a game the last eight years, so practice we do what we can,” Urlacher admitted. “We run to the football as fast as we need to, and then we go. Same thing in a game, if I have to run full speed I will, if I don’t I won’t.”