All offseason, the Bears and Brian Urlacher have insisted he’d be fine coming back from last year’s Week 17 knee injury.
And optimism’s fine, until it becomes clouded by the reality that the Pro Bowl middle linebacker has now missed four straight practices.
‘‘It’s always a concern when you have an injury at the end of the year and you miss some time in the offseason,’’ Smith said, via Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘But he should be OK.’’
The reality of the matter is, Urlacher’s 34, and shouldn’t be expected to bounce back as quickly as a younger player would. That’s why Smith was trying to manage the expectations as best he could.
‘‘It’s not like he hurt it any more,’’ Smith said. ‘‘You assume he’d have some soreness and he’d miss a few of these training-camp practices.’’
After going through three padded practices in a four-day span, Urlacher missing the last four is a reasonable concern.
As is how they’d replace him if he missed regular season time. they could shuffle Nick Roach inside and add Geno Hayes at strongside linebacker, or rush the conversion of college safety Dom DeCicco. If they had to go either of those routes, then you’d see more concern on Smith’s face.