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Brian Urlacher confident extra days off won’t affect knee

Updated: November 21, 2012 6:13AM

It’s getting cold outside and it’s been a long time since the Bears played a game, but the most discussed knee in Halas Hall should be just fine come Monday night against the Detroit Lions.

“It’s the same either way,” said linebacker Brian Urlacher, who continues to work his way back ­after spraining the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ­ligaments in his left knee in the regular-season finale last year.

“I still practiced last week. The few days off were good and bad because you come back and you get tired on Monday when you practice because you had three or four days off. But it doesn’t affect my knee either way. The rest is always good for everybody. No more me than anybody else. “

Urlacher and defensive end Julius Peppers were held out of practice Friday as part of the usual routine.

Big plays by Urlacher might be few and far between these days, but the defense is still as stout as ever. The Bears have allowed 71 points in the first five games. Their 14.2 average is the best mark in the league.

Urlacher also is ecstatic that his teammates are making big plays on defense, namely the interception returns by cornerback Charles Tillman and linebacker Lance Briggs in consecutive weeks.

“I don’t care who scores, man,” Urlacher said. “It’s fun when guys score. It’s an emotional thing. It gives us a boost on the sideline.”

Hester’s OK

Kick returner/receiver Devin Hester returned to practice after sitting out Thursday with a quad injury. Hester participated on a limited basis, as did reserve linebacker Blake Costanzo (thumb surgery) and defensive back Sherrick McManis (hip). Wide receiver Earl Bennett was sick and did not practice.

Though he didn’t discuss his quad injury, Hester made it sound as though his status was never in doubt for Monday night.

“I’m always looking forward to a Monday night game,” Hester said. “Who knows how it’s going to unfold this week.”

On the record

Briggs, on the defensive mentality of forcing fumbles: “Since [coach Lovie Smith has] been here, he’s always preached this stuff. It’s ingrained. I think I teach my kids how to recover fumbles and stuff like that every time they drop a bottle or a sippy cup. It’s getting ridiculous.”

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