LAKE FOREST – Brian Urlacher isn’t practicing. He isn’t talking, either.
If the Bears’ 34-year-old middle linebacker is going to play in the biggest game of the season Sunday against the Detroit Lions, his injured hamstring better improve in a hurry.
“We only have one more day to go,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said Thursday at Halas Hall. “You would like for the guys to play a little bit before [the game].”
Urlacher has not practiced since injuring his hamstring Dec. 2 on the second-to-last play of an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He has watched the past three games from the sideline while Nick Roach has filled in for him at middle linebacker.
Fellow linebacker Lance Briggs said Urlacher was eager to re-join his teammates.
“Of course, he wants to be out there,” said Briggs, who has played alongside Urlacher since 2003. “He never wants to be off the field. He always wants to be out there.
“But when it gets to situations like that, it’s not our call. I know where his heart is. I know where he wants to be. But I don’t really know what to say about that one.”
In addition to Urlacher, three other players missed practice because of injuries. They included safety Chris Conte (hamstring), linebacker Blake Costanzo (calf) and running back Armando Allen (knee).
Fingers crossed: No offense to any Pro Bowl voters, but Brandon Marshall is hoping that he has to miss the game Jan. 27 because he is preparing for the Super Bowl.
Marshall learned this week that he had been selected to his fourth Pro Bowl in seven seasons. He has been the Bears’ top playmaker with 113 catches for 1,466 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“It’s always an honor to be voted in by your peers and coaches around the league,” Marshall said. “Fortunately, it’s my fourth time. But unfortunately, it’s been my playoffs.
“The Pro Bowl is great. It’s an honor. It’s a ball. You have a blast out there. But I’m ready to get to the playoffs, and that’s more important. Hopefully, those tickets [to Hawaii] go unused.”
Feeling better: Matt Forte returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out one day earlier because of an injured right ankle.
Smith said he liked what he saw from Forte, who has rushed for 991 yards and four touchdowns.
“He looked pretty good,” Smith said. “We’re hopeful for him, which we thought all along. I know he’s been pretty optimistic about the plan.”
Bears bits: Second-year offensive lineman Gabe Carimi leads the Bears with 11 penalties, including six for holding. … Julius Peppers has notched 11 sacks in nine career games against the Lions.