It's something that Chicago Bears fans have been wondering since the beginning of training camp, and now the answer is finally here. It's one fans and coaches alike were hoping to avoid. Brian Urlacher is going to have arthroscopic knee surgery done, and the typical time table for return from such a surgery is 3-6 weeks. However, there still remain more questions than answers for Brian Urlacher and the Chicago Bears.
One question that Urlacher will have to address throughout the season is how the knee is feeling, and if it is affecting his game at all. In an interview with FOX in Chicago, the interviewer Lou Canellis tweeted that Urlacher stated that his knee would "bother him all season long".
After a statement like that, and a surgery to follow it up, Urlacher can bet that after almost every game this season, one reporter or another is going to be asking him about his knee, how it is affecting is game and whether he is 100 percent yet. So why would he say something like that, knowing he would get more questions all season about it? Most likely, he is trying to be more open with the fans and media after not addressing why he was missing from most of training camp.
Another question that Urlacher is going to have to address is what his future will be with the Chicago Bears after this season. Urlacher's contract is up, and while he has been a Chicago Bear for his entire career, we have seen recently that injury can result in change we never saw coming, such as Peyton Manning being forced to leave Indianapolis.
Of course fans want to see him starting in the Mike Linebacker position next season, and through it's likely that Urlacher will be playing for the Bears in 2013, this surgery does raise questions and doubts as to whether he will be able to continue as a dominant player at his position in the NFL. These questions will continue throughout the year based on his level of play.
Finally, the question remains whether or not Urlacher will be back in time for the September 9th opener against rookie sensation Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. The normal time table for return is 3-6 weeks; however, Urlacher is 34, and his recovery time won't be as quick as it once was.
One of the problems that comes with age is longer recovery time from injuries, and Urlacher is no exception. If Urlacher is unable to make it back in time for the opener, then who will play the middle linebacker position? There have been so many different combinations of players put into the linebacking core this preseason already that there is no clear indication as to who will play for Urlacher if he is unable to go.
Remember, this is not a major surgery. It is only arthroscopic, and the regular timetable for this type of surgery tells us Urlacher will be able to return without missing a major chunk of the season. However, the surgery also tells us he wasn't healing properly after rehab all offseason, and that his knee is still bothering him.
Anytime a player gets surgery, it's not good news for the team or their fans. Hopefully Urlacher is able to make it back by September 9th and the knee is a non-issue all season. But for right now, with less than a month until the season opener, the Chicago Bears coaches, players and fans are left with more questions than answers.