LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Perhaps no group needed an off week more than the Chicago Bears linebackers.
"It helped a lot," Lance Briggs said Thursday. "I thought about beaches and nice things while I was sitting in the training room."
While some of his teammates jetted off to warm locations across the country, Briggs showed up to receive treatment on a sprained left ankle which forced the linebacker to miss most of the past two games. Briggs returned to the practice field Monday and is expected to be close to full-strength on Sunday.
Although Brian Iwuh performed admirably in place of Briggs, there is simply no way to replace a five-time Pro Bowler.
"Whatever level that is I can play at, I hope it's a high, elite level," Briggs said.
Fellow linebacker Brian Urlacher was also slowed by injuries the past few weeks, suffering from a groin injury and a sprained thumb. Urlacher managed only three tackles against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 24, one of the lowest single game tackle totals in his 11-year NFL career.
Urlacher has recorded three or fewer tackles only five times in 145 career games -- one of those games occurred on Jan. 1, 2005 at Minnesota when the Bears rested their starters for nearly the entire contest.
A healthy Briggs and Urlacher could spell trouble for the Buffalo Bills' offense.
"I feel good," Urlacher said. "Anytime you get a week off in the middle of the season [it helps]. Our bye week came at the right time. Hopefully you can get one Week 6, 7 or 8, so ours worked out pretty good."