First-round draft pick Chris Williams announced on the team's Web site that he would like to be able to play at least half of the season during his rookie year.
"It was a shock, but it was also a relief," he also said. "I knew surgery would fix it. It was something that got real bad quick, so I knew that surgery would reverse it just as quick and was excited about it."
The left tackle had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back on Aug. 6 and the team plans to keep him on the 53-man roster when the season begins. Reportedly, he will begin rehabilitation this weekend.
Team officials have talked about a possible return in October or November, and have also acknowledged the procedure was more involved than what ex-wide receiver Marcus Robinson and cornerback Charles Tillman underwent. Tillman's surgery was in February 2007 and he was cleared for a full return four months later. There was no rush to get him back in the offseason.
Williams left the practice field on the second day of training camp, July 24, after a non-contact drill. At least a handful of clubs had removed Williams from their draft boards because of back issues.
"I don't feel a need to defend myself," Williams said. "But football's a rough game and it wears on the body. This has nothing to do with my previous injury. It's just something that happened. It's part of the game. Everybody has something and I'm just glad to get it over with."
The Bears are thin at offensive tackle now with seventh-round pick Kirk Barton and undrafted free agent Cody Balogh backing up starters John St. Clair and John Tait. Chester Adams, also a seventh-round pick, has been used some at right tackle.
There is not a lot available right now with ex-Bear Fred Miller topping the free-agent market. The Baltimore Ravens remain interested in Miller and an NFC team called about his services this morning. Miller's agent Harold Lewis will meet with Ravens officials on Friday.
As far as Williams' goal ... the second half of the season begins with a Nov. 9 meeting at Soldier Field against Tennessee.