Brian Urlacher did not practice Wednesday and probably won't on Thursday after leaving the team to spend time with his family after the sudden death of his mother Monday. Lavoyda Urlacher was 53.
Coach Lovie Smith said he does not know if Urlacher will return in time to play against the Saints on Sunday. It's unlikely that Urlacher will miss the game. But if he does, Nick Roach would probably move from the strong side to the middle to replace Urlacher, with Brian Iwuh playing the strong side.
''Right now we're just there supporting Brian,'' Smith said. ''He's there with his family, which I want him to do. He'll let us know where we're going from there.''
The entire Bears family is grieving with Urlacher this week.
''It's just sad,'' Smith said. ''I'm lucky to be his coach. But our relationship goes a lot further than that. I lost my mother earlier this year, one of the first guys on the telephone with me was Brian.
''Our players of course are concerned and we're giving him family time right now. But we're just going to be there to support him in any way that we can and just be there to help him through a tough time. Unless you've been through it, there's no way to make it any better than it is at the time. But he'll get through it.''
Smith said the Bears have a Plan B in mind, but it doesn't appear they think they'll have to use it.
''I know sometimes when you're going through tough times, the best thing for you to do is get back to something that you like doing,'' Smith said. ''And football is very important to Brian. He has a big support group here. So I know he's anxious to get back with his teammates.''
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who lost his mother unexpectedly in August, 2009, echoed that sentiment when talking to the Chicago media Wednesday. He said the Saints are expecting Urlacher to play Sunday.
''I know for me, as hard as that was and as much as I needed to be with my family at that time, your teammates are also part of your family, too,'' Brees said. ''A big part of my healing was coming back and being with the guys in the locker room and getting back to playing football. Because I knew that's what she always loved watching me do.''