Brian Urlacher practiced for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury against the Seahawks on Dec. 2, but coach Lovie Smith did not sound optimistic that he would be able to play against the Lions on Sunday.
''I was encouraged that he was finally able to get on the practice field,'' Smith said after the Bears practiced Friday at the Walter Payton Center. ''It's not like we had a full-padded practice today, but he was able to move around, which we thought he would be able to do. He's making the normal progress we thought he would make.''
Smith left open the possibility that Urlacher could play, but it seemed like it was only because he didn't want to rule him out completely.
''No, Brian doesn't have to necessarily go through a full practice before we would play him,'' Smith said. ''But we're not to that point. We're going to look at how he moves around and see how he feels after today.''
The future of Urlacher, Smith and his coaching staff could be on the line against the Lions. But Smith seemed annoyed at repeated questions about Urlacher.
''You guys can write whatever you want to about Brian. I can't tell you any more,'' Smith said. ''So you can talk amongst yourselves to try and figure that out. He had a limited practice. He hadn't done anything and today he was able to do a little bit. I can't give you much more than that. All right?''
In other news, safety Chris Conte, linebacker Blake Costanzo and running back Armando Allen did not practice and are not expected to play against the Lions.
But Smith was hopeful that Matt Forte, who suffered an ankle injury last week against the Cardinals, would be able to play.
''We feel like we're ready to go,'' Smith said. ''We have a few areas of concern if you look at the injury list, but I think we have guys that can step in and replace them if they have to.''