As we all know,Chicago Bears‘ middle linebacker Brian Urlacher had his knee scoped a few days ago. The Bears and Urlacher are shooting for a week 1 return vs. the Indianapolis Colts. However, ESPN medical analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan believes a week 1 return is too optimistic.
“It’s a little aggressive to have him back for the opener,” Kaplan said Tuesday on “The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show” on ESPN 1000. “I’m not sure or confident that that is going to happen. Obviously, it’s something to shoot toward, but it’s going to matter really how much damage he has to the joint surface.
“They will clean it up as they said, and then along the way during the season, if he has flare-ups, pain, swelling, they can inject him with steroids, they can give him the synthetic lubricant injection, give him anti-inflammatory medicines, therapy, stuff just to keep it manageable so he can get through the season.”
General Manager Phil Emery said on Tuesday that Urlacher had his knee scoped. Emery also said the plan is to have him back by week 1. Urlacher had his knee scoped to remove the swelling in his knee.
Kaplan did say the swelling in his knee will be a problem for him trying to return. “The ligaments that he had injured don’t need to be fixed. The MCL almost always heals on its own,” Kaplan said. “The posterior cruciate was not a complete rupture; it was not grossly unstable, so he didn’t need surgery last December. And most of that I’m sure is already healed. What remains a problem is the swelling, and that’s likely predicated on joint surface irritation or scuffing of the joint surface.”
Urlacher recently told Fox, that he believes his knee will be a lingering problem all season long.
“He’s not going to be good as new,” Kaplan said. “You try to make him better. It’s not necessarily going to be a home run, but you’ll obviously do what you can to quiet his soreness, to decrease his symptoms. But these aren’t normal guys. These are elite, incredibly tough, supremely fit individuals, so they play with a fair amount of problems. I know many of these professional NFL players that have had four, five, six knee scopes and continue to carry on. It bites them in the fanny at age 45 and 55, but for the time being you do what you have to do to stay in the game.”
I would love Urlacher to be ready by week 1, but if he’s not fully healthy, don’t make him trot out there. There’s no reason to rush him out there and having him re-injure his knee.
If Urlacher does not play week 1, I see Nick Roach moving over to the middle in place of Urlacher and possibly Geno Hayes taking over Roach’s spot.
Let’s hope to a speedy recovery for Urlacher!