LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher went on injured reserve after having surgery Monday to repair a dislocated right wrist and will not be back this season, a blow for a team with high expectations.
There was no immediate word from Urlacher other than a text message to the Chicago Tribune that said: "season is over." But coach Lovie Smith said Urlacher clearly was disappointed about the injury sustained in Sunday night's 21-15 loss at the Packers.
"He had put himself in position to have an outstanding year," Smith said. "He was playing well in the game before he went down with the injury. Even after the injury to his hand, the competitor in him wanted to continue to play. It's a tough break. There's no way around it, but he's been injured before, and he's come back before."
Hunter Hillenmeyer is expected to start at middle linebacker Sunday when the Bears host the Steelers. Chicago signed linebacker Tim Shaw, who got cut by Jacksonville this month, to a one-year deal Monday.
Urlacher, 31, was injured in the first quarter, though it was not clear when. Urlacher briefly shook his wrist after tackling running back Ryan Grant late in the quarter.
Urlacher played in the second quarter but left on the Packers' first drive of the second half.
"Talk about a guy that's a great leader," said Hillenmeyer, who replaced Urlacher on Sunday. "First, he plays an entire half of football with a dislocated wrist. I don't think there's many people who can do something like that."
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Broncos: Linebacker Spencer Larsen will miss a few weeks after injuring his shoulder when he slipped in the locker room at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Dolphins: Coach Tony Sparano downplayed an 0-1 start. "Sixteen teams lost yesterday," said Sparano, not accounting for three games that were played Thursday and Monday. "That doesn't make it good by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think anybody else is canceling the season.
Giants: Receiver Hakeem Nicks (sprained left foot) and running back Danny Ware (dislocated left elbow) are likely out at least two weeks. Coach Tom Coughlin said he will consider a roster move to bolster depth at running back.
Jaguars: Starting defensive end Reggie Hayward (broken left leg) is out for the season.
Jets: Cornerback Marquice Cole was waived to make room for defensive end Shaun Ellis, who returns from a one-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy last season.
Panthers: Coach John Fox said quarterback Jake Delhomme remains the starter despite four interceptions and a lost fumble Sunday against the Eagles.
Steelers: Safety Troy Polamalu doesn't need left knee surgery and says the best case scenario is he will be back in three to six weeks as expected. He tore the medial collateral ligament Thursday against the Titans.
Players to donate brains: Three players said they will donate their brains and spinal cord tissue to a Boston University medical school program that studies sports brain injuries. Though dozens of former players have agreed to donate their brains after death, Ravens center Matt Birk, Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu and Cardinals receiver Sean Morey are the first active players to do so.