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Brian Urlacher joins first Chicago Bears practice since July

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to practice Monday for the first time since July 31, hoping to play in Sunday's regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

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Urlacher did not stop to talk to reporters, but coach Lovie Smith said the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker looked good considering he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Aug. 14.

"He had a good first day back," Smith said. "He's got to get in shape. I'm sure he'll tell you that and a few other things like that. But we didn't have any trouble with him today. He's right on schedule."

Urlacher did talk to WFLD-TV before Monday about his condition and said, "I'm playing Sunday. That's a done deal."

However, Urlacher also said the knee will not be 100 percent.

"I will be as close to it as I can be," he said. "I have been doing some things. I've been in the pool. I have been running with our trainers and stuff on the side. But it's hard to get in shape in a week of practice. It's not possible. But I will get as close as I can to it."

Bears players liked what they saw of Urlacher in practice.

"He's back in the flow," linebacker Nick Roach said. "We're still a long way away from Sunday, but just having him back is definitely positive."

With Urlacher back, defensive players returned to their normal routine. Roach moved from the middle back to his regular starting spot on the strong side.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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