Fans at Soldier Field might have been concerned when Brian Urlacher left Saturday night's 32-17 loss to the Raiders after the fifth play with what turned out to be a strained calf muscle, but his teammates knew from the start that it was only a minor injury.
"There was no question to me that he was going to be all right," defensive end Isreal Idonije said.
Urlacher did not practice on Monday but is not expected to miss much time.
"We need him," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He had an outstanding camp. We need him out there and he will be."
Hunter Hillenmeyer filled in for Urlacher on Saturday night, just as he did when Urlacher injured his wrist in last season's opener and missed the remainder of the season. The veteran backup finished with a team-high seven combined tackles.
"You have to understand that anything can happen," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "So on a moment's notice, Hunter's got to step in, or whoever it is. I was relieved when I heard it wasn't serious. But in the middle of a football game, you have to focus on what you have to do."
In other injury news, rookie Major Harris, who underwent successful surgery on his fractured left finger last week, returned to practice, although he wore a red jersey and did not participate in contract drills. Long-snapper Patrick Mannally also returned to practice, which was good news after backup long-snapper Desmond Clark botched three snaps in Saturday night's exhibition loss to the Raiders. Caleb Hanie (shoulder), receiver Earl Bennett (hamstring) and safety Josh Bullocks (quadriceps) did not practice but worked out individually on an adjacent field. Smith said he expects Bullocks to return to practice later in the week. Linebacker Nick Roach (knee), guard Lance Louis (ankle) and defensive tackle Tommie Harris (knee) sat out Monday's practice. Safety Craig Steltz said he's steadily recovering from a high-ankle sprain suffered in the exhibition opener but did not have a timetable for his return.