Fact or Fiction

CHICAGO _ The Bears continue to treat middle linebacker Brian Urlacher like a fragile piece of china, and possibly for a good reason.

Urlacher missed two games earlier this year with a pulled right hamstring, the same one he injured the first day of training camp.

Fox television's Jay Glazer reported during that network's Sunday morning pregame show that Urlacher told him his left hamstring is now bothering him to the point where it might lead to missed playing time. Glazer reported Urlacher also said he might consider injured reserve if the problem persists. Such a move would make Urlacher ineligible for the rest of the season.

After Sunday's 23-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Urlacher wouldn't deny the report, but did say: ""I feel great. I feel great.''

When asked specifically about the report, Urlacher said: "No comment.''

If Urlacher's play looked better Sunday night, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera said it was merely the result of better conditioning.

"I've talked to Brian a couple times about it -- it looks like he's getting into football shape,'' Rivera said. ""Let's don't forget he missed all of training camp, he had two weeks and then he had the reoccurrence (of the hamstring) and then he's had a couple more weeks. I told Brian personally that last week I thought he played a little bit tired and he felt sluggish too.

"But this week it looked like he really moved around much better.''

Urlacher showed very little effect of a hamstring pull in the game. He had two sacks of Ken Dorsey in the first half and came across the field to snuff out a screen pass on third down to force a punt on the Niners' first series.

Urlacher missed the Bears' third and fourth games due to the right hamstring. He didn't practice Thursday this past week, but did practice Wednesday and Friday.

The weather had turned cold but coach Lovie Smith said that wasn't the reason for holding him out.

"When it's cold, it's a lot harder to get loose in a cold environment, but that's what we play in," Smith said. "With Brian it's just getting him rest. After the game, trying to at least get him 48 hours rest and even a little more from there.

"As a general rule we're going to try to let him maybe rest until Wednesday and try to get him some work Thursday and Friday and kind of go through that for a while. I just think most of the time with hamstring guys, they re-injure them; so we're just going to try to avoid that as best we can."

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