It’s worst case scenario for the Chicago Bears and Brian Urlacher, as it was revealed today that the 34-year-old underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair his left knee which he injured last season.
At the end of last season, Urlacher had the choice to undergo surgery to repair his knee or try to rehab it without surgery, and he chose the latter. When training camp began, Urlacher’s absence became national news, as speculations ran rampant as to why he was missing. Some speculated he was dealing with family issues, some that he was being told not to practice because his knee was too hurt still, some even saying that they believed that Urlacher had already underwent surgery, and was trying to cover it up.
So now that the surgery is done, it means that the Bears will be without Urlacher for all of training camp AND the pre-season, so Urlacher will have to work off the rust in the regular season in live action games, which can’t be good for someone who will be recovering from rehab and knee surgery.
It also means that Urlacher’s future is in doubt with the team, because Urlacher is entering the final year of his current contract. While Urlacher will be of course looking to return with the Chicago Bears, if his knee proves to be too big a concern and his play suffers quite a bit this season because of the injury, there will be huge doubt as to whether he will return with Chicago again next season. While the Bears would of course be loyal and have to give it a look, they cannot let previous history cloud an obvious flaw that could force Urlacher out of the game earlier than expected. Just this week in an interview with the local FOX affiliate in Chicago, Urlacher stated that his knee would basically be “bothering him all season”, as tweeted by Lou Canellis, the man who conducted the interview. Clearly, even Brian Urlacher thinks this is an issue that could affect him long-term.
Finally, it means chaos for the team currently, because they are not sure who is going to be practicing with the first team and playing with them in the final three pre-season games that the Bears have remaining. Nick Roach has been getting most of the reps as of late, however there are multiple candidates for the job that are on the Bears’ roster, and head coach Lovie Smith is not opposed to getting any one of them playing time with the team.
As the season opener on September 9th draws closer and closer, one thing remains clear for the Chicago Bears and their star player on defense, and that is that as of right now, the Chicago Bears have more questions than answers.