Secret Surgeries for Urlacher Reason for Concern

CSN Chicago is reporting that Brian Urlacher’s knee scope on Tuesday was not the first procedure he’s had on the knee that he injured in Week 17 vs the Minnesota Vikings.  According to Moon Mullin’s sources, Urlacher had two other cleanup procedures before the first publicized scope earlier this week.

The procedure performed Tuesday to alleviate swelling and soreness in the left knee of Brian Urlacher was not the first this offseason for the Bears’ franchise middle linebacker, CSNChicago.com has confirmed with two NFL sources.

Urlacher had a procedure done shortly after the end of the 2011 regular season, with the injury occurring late in the Jan. 1 victory at Minnesota, sources said. It was similar to the non-invasive procedure that was done this Tuesday.

One source told CSNChicago.com that Urlacher in fact had a second procedure done last spring.

So is it time to start panicking now?  It was one thing if he tried to rehab the knee during the offseason and then needed a little cleanup after the knee flared up when seeing the first action in months.  I think it’s entirely another if he had procedures in January and again later in the spring and the knee continues not to respond.

I’m not sure if the procedures were kept secret by Urlacher, a 34-year old veteran entering a contract year, to keep some leverage in contract negotiations or if the gag order came from Halas Hall, where they practice public relations using a PR manual from the cold war era.  Either way, I can’t understand why this stuff needs to be veiled in secrecy.  Don’t they know that this stuff will come out anyway and they look foolish in the aftermath?

For the record, I believe Urlacher when he says he’ll be ready for September 9th.  My question is whether or not he’ll be ready on September 13th at Green Bay or how effective he’ll be on September 24th vs the Rams.  Urlacher’s presence in the defensive huddle definitely makes a difference, but his ability to cover that deep middle of the field in the Cover-2 is what the Bears really need.  If he’s limited and not as effective, the entire defensive philosophy starts to tumble like a house of cards.

Urlacher has certainly lost a step in recent years and has relied on his experience and knowledge of the system to anticipate where to be to make up for his lost speed.  How much of that knowledge can he use to keep covering for a bum wheel?  Will he be doing more harm than good if he’s cheating one way and starts guessing wrong?  You can count on the fact that opposing offenses will test that deep middle of the field and see if Urlacher’s up for the challenge.  One way or another, we’ll find out if he is.

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