The Chicago Bears are down a man at linebacker.
Nine-year veteran D.J. Williams left Wednesday's practice with a calf strain, per our NFL Network crew on the scene. The Bears signed Williams in March to replace the departed Brian Urlacher in the middle of the team's storied defense.
The injury has been categorized as week-to-week, NFL Network reported. Losing Williams long term would be costly for the Bears. The former Broncos defender started only one game for Denver last season, but he figures as an every-down player in the Windy City.
He's a patch for 2013, but Williams graded out as a solid defender against the run and pass by Pro Football Focus last season, despite appearing in only seven games.
With Williams sidelined, the Bears will look toward rookie Jon Bostic -- who's practiced almost exclusively in the middle with the second team -- to push for first-team duties. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker in May labeled it an open competition between Bostic and Williams. Rookie Khaseem Greene is another candidate for snaps if the Bears remain short-handed.