Roach familiar with Urlacher's surgery

Bears LB Brian Urlacher had his knee scoped this morning. Nick Roach had the same procedure done on his knee before the 2010 season. Roach talks with Bear Report about his recovery.

Shortly before the Chicago Bears opened the 2010 season, linebacker Nick Roach went under the knife. His knee was swollen so he underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery, commonly referred to as a knee scope.

Arthroscopic debridement is, according to an online dictionary, surgical excision of dead, devitalized, or contaminated tissue and removal of foreign matter from a wound.

"My surgery, they just cleaned up the knee," Roach told Bear Report today. "It was getting swollen so they had to clean out some of the loose cartilage around it."

Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher had the same procedure done to his left knee this morning. Urlacher sprained his MCL and PCL in the season finale last year and has been struggling to get back to 100 percent ever since. He did not participate in OTAs or veteran minicamp and has missed all but a handful of practice so far in training camp.

Before the operation, the team, as well as Urlacher himself, said all along that he'll be ready to go Sept. 9 for the regular season opener against the Colts. Despite the surgery, he's still expected to be on Soldier Field versus Indianapolis. That would give him roughly three and a half weeks to fully recover. According to Roach, that should be enough time.

LB Nick Roach
Jerry Lai/US Presswire

"It took a couple weeks for me," said Roach. "It's been good ever since."

Roach said his surgery was a success and he hasn't felt any discomfort in the knee since. Bears fans are hoping that will be the case with Urlacher, a future Hall of Famer who is the heart of this defense.

But if he can't go, Roach will be called on to fill his shoes. It's not anything new to him, as Roach started 15 games in place of Urlacher in 2009, after Urlacher was lost with a wrist injury.

From an athletic standpoint, Roach said there isn't much of a difference in playing strong side linebacker, where he started last year, and middle linebacker. The only real difference is "you've got to make all the call and adjustments and get everybody lined up."

If necessary, he said he's ready for the challenge.

"Nick's done well, as good as anyone could do right now with Brian being out," Lance Briggs said. "He's played the position before, and he's comfortable in the position. I think from our defensive unit, he gets us all aligned and playing well and he's very stout and smart. He knows where he needs to be."

If Urlacher misses time, Geno Hayes will be thrust into starting duties on the strong side.

"Geno is a playmaker, and I can't wait to see Geno on the field and what he brings to the table," said Briggs. "He's very instinctive. He's a ball player. And that's the reason he's running with the ones right now."

Hayes said he's getting more comfortable in the defense by the day, and is thinking less and reacting more. Still, he has faith Urlacher will be on the field come Week 1.

"Right now we're not going to press the issue that he's not going to be there because we know he will be there," Hayes said.

Roach echoed Hayes.

"I don't have any doubt [he'll be back]," said Roach. "I don't have any fear at all."

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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