Bears' Urlacher expect to play in opener

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Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher says his left knee will never be the same, but it won't stop him from playing Sunday in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

"I'm playing Sunday. That's a done deal," Urlacher told WFLD-TV in Chicago.

Urlacher, 34, has endured multiple surgeries on the knee, forcing him to miss all of the team's offseason program on the practice field and the majority of training camp.

His latest surgery came Aug. 14 when he underwent an arthroscopic procedure to clean up damage in the knee caused by a sprained medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligament that occurred in the final game of the 2011 regular season.

The veteran said he hadn't experienced any complications during his rehab leading up to the opener. The Bears return to the practice field Monday and Urlacher was expected to test the knee.

"(The left knee) feels much better now," Urlacher said. "I have been running around quite a bit, not with the team in practice, I have been taking it really slow like Coach (Lovie) Smith said we would. Everything they are going to let me do, I'll do."

Urlacher disputed speculation that he might wait until the Bears' second game, at Green Bay on Sept. 13, to make his season debut.

"I don't see why," he said of putting off playing.

"There is going to be some restrictions on what I can do because they don't want to overwork me too early. It's a long season. There will be some restrictions, but there won't be restrictions in the game on Sunday."

Urlacher, the Bears' first-round draft pick in 2000, hasn't missed a game since 2009.

-- The Sports Xchange