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Conte, Paea also return to practice

9/3/2012

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (knee) wasn't the only defensive starter the club welcomed back on Monday as free safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (ankle) both returned to action after sitting out the final weeks of the preseason.

Paea suffered a sprained ankle at practice on Aug. 11, while Conte felt his right shoulder pop out in the Bears’ second preseason game versus the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18.

Paea had planned to practice last week but the medical staff decided to hold him out a couple of extra days to further rest the ankle. The defensive tackle said he practiced Monday without restrictions and expects to play Sunday in the regular season opener.

"(I did) everything," Paea said. "Individual, team, being able to cut and do all of the change of directions. I'm feeling good. 100 percent (I'll be ready to go on Sunday)."

Bears head coach Lovie Smith refused to rule out Conte for Week 1.

"I don't think that's beyond the possibilities, at all," Smith said.

Starting punter Adam Podlesh continues to make progress as he recovers from a left hip flexor injury although rookie Ryan Quigley did all the kicking during the portion of practice open to the media.

Running back Lorenzo Booker did not practice after he sustained a head injury in the preseason finale last Thursday.

The Bears are not obligated to release an official injury report until Wednesday.