What do Brian Urlacher and Peyton Manning have in common? The injuries to both players are (were for Peyton) much worse than believed. As it turns out, the surgery he had on Tuesday to relieve swelling and soreness in his knee was not the first. It was his third.
The worry for the Bears going forward has to be two-fold: How much will Urlacher be able to play this season? Could this be the end for one of the greatest linebackers in recent history?
When Urlacher hurt his knee at the end of last season it wasn’t believed to be too bad since he opted for rest and rehab rather than surgery. As it turns out, the veteran linebacker did have surgery, once shortly after the injury occurred and the second in the spring.
What makes this interesting is that Urlacher has denied having surgery prior to his most recent one on Tuesday. There has yet to be a comment from him or the team on this revelation or a reason for the deception. If the case is anything like Manning’s, it’s because the injury is much more serious than the team wants to let on.
Urlacher’s own comments paint a picture of a serious knee injury that could need more time to properly heal:
It is frustrating because after seven months you'd think you would be healthy again, but I should be good to go now, hopefully.
Minor injuries don’t take seven months to heal.
The team and Urlacher are claiming that he’ll be ready to go for the start of the season, but that has to be in doubt now. Even if he is, with the ease that it swelled up during training camp you have to wonder how much he is going to be available and how effective he’ll be. If it swelled up during training camp, imagine how easily it will swell during games.
There has to be some concerns about whether this could be the beginning of the end for the 12-year veteran. Over the last few years he has battled a series of injuries, both minor and serious. In 2007 he had an arthritic back; in the off-season he had neck surgery to relieve the pain. A dislocated wrist in 2009 forced him to miss that season. At 34-years-old it will be harder than ever to heal.
The question could become for Urlacher how does he want life to be once he does retire? Does he want to have a broken down body after too many years on the field or does he want to be a relatively pain-free and functioning member of society?
(Brian Urlacher at his best!)