Brian Urlacher was back at camp with the Chicago Bears on Saturday, but the status of his problematic right knee remains a mystery.
The eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker huddled with teammates, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, but it's unclear if Urlacher participated in practice. He missed all of Chicago's offseason program after opting for rehab instead of surgery to heal a torn MCL and PCL suffered at the end of last season. Concern was heightened when Urlacher was held out of four straight practices this month before leaving the team Monday for "personal reasons."
Urlacher missed the Bears' preseason opener against the Denver Broncos and there's no assurance he'll play next week against the Washington Redskins. Last month he told ESPN Chicago he was "full go for everything, so I won't be missing anything."
You don't replace Urlacher in Chicago, but coach Lovie Smith is either satisfied with his linebacker depth or believes his centerpiece will be ready in time for the season. In Urlacher's absence, Nick Roach has moved from his normal spot on the outside to fill some big shoes in the middle of the defense. The adjustment has taught Roach just how valuable Urlacher is to this team.
"You have to know where everybody is going to be. It's just part of the position," Roach told the Tribune. "When I go back (to outside linebacker), that will give me just that much more insight as to what is going on with the whole defense. It will be good to have (Urlacher) back. We miss him. It's his defense."
UPDATE: The Bears tweeted Saturday that Urlacher was at camp but not in pads, meaning that he did not practice with the team.