Brian Urlacher ready for Colts

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:05 AM ET
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs has a message for the Indianapolis Colts if they plan to attack the middle of the field to test Brian Urlacher's injured left knee on Sunday.

"They can try," Briggs said. "But they will fail."

Urlacher returned to the practice field on Monday after being forced to miss the entire offseason program and the majority of the preseason because of issues with his left knee. The Pro Bowl linebacker originally damaged the PCL and MCL ligaments in the knee in the 2011 regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, then re-injured the knee early in training camp.

Urlacher confirmed on Thursday that his left knee problems in training camp were different than the ones he sustained against the Vikings.

"I don't think I injured it, just aggravated it," Urlacher said. "I hadn't done that much in the offseason. I ran the whole months of June and July before we got to training camp but nothing like we went through in training camp. So I think that aggravated it a little bit and got some things loose in there. We cleaned it out and now it's good."

Urlacher had full participation in practice on Wednesday and plans to play every snap in the opener against the Colts. He was held out of practice on Thursday. The team called that development a precautionary measure.

"I'm not worried about it (the Colts testing me)," Urlacher said. "We'll run our cover-2 if we have to and see what happens. If they want to test me, I'll have more chances to make plays then.

"I'm not up to speed. I know the defense well, (but) I have to get my technique down and work on some things. But I'm practicing still so that's really all that matters to me. I'll get it down. The more I'm out there and the more reps I get I'll get better. I'm not as out of shape as I thought I would be either, so that's good.

"At practice, we do what we can. We run to the football as fast as we need to and we go. Same way in a game. If I have to run full speed, I will. If I don't, I won't."

The Colts are operating under the assumption Urlacher will be on the field on Sunday.

"I fully expect him to be there," Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano said. "If he's not, I've watched enough tape to know there is plenty of talent in the linebacking corps over there. We expect him to play, and we expect him to be out there so that's how we're planning and moving forward."

When asked Thursday if the game plan is to go after Urlacher, Indianapolis tight end Coby Fleener told "The Carmen, Jurko & Harry Show" on ESPN 1000 that it's not that easy.

"I think we're going to try to take advantage of anything we can find, weaknesses, which is a tough thing to do against a great Bears defense," Fleener said. "I don't need to list off the number of Pro Bowlers they have on defense. They're impressive to say the least."

Briggs was asked if it's common in the NFL for teams to specifically target a player's injury during the course of a game, especially when their health status receives public attention.

"Like a bounty?," Briggs said. "I've never heard of it, man. Playing football, you want to wear your opponent out defensively so you want to hit him as hard and as many times as possible. You want to make him quit. But if you're a guy who has an injury, that's enough (for a person to deal with). They have to go out there and play hard and play 100 percent, 100 mph. It's just kind of unfortunate that things like that happen.

"Guys that play injured know the risk. We all know the risk. But I don't think guys are out there maliciously trying to end your careers. We all have families to feed and our lives and our careers."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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